Monday, September 29, 2008

Reading Isaiah

I'm back to Isaiah in my yearly reading plan. It's amazing how I see these OT books in a slightly different light now that I've studied them for class. The next time you read through the OT note how many times you see references to "in that day" or "the day of the LORD." There are quite a few!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Prayers for the Nation

I pray often for the nation as the election approaches. My prayer is that we would make a godly choice for our leaders. The thing I realized this morning is that I'm implicitly saying, "God, I know that I am doing this right and I pray that the rest of the country would come around."

Frankly, I'm not sure that there is a truly godly choice in this presidential election. I know that I could not vote for Obama based on his views on abortion. I don't think that increasing governmental dependence is the way to fix poverty either. However, it's not as if McCain is a shining light in the darkness either.

My prayer is now that we would make the right choice, starting with me. I find that a lot of my prayers are trying to manipulate God to make others like me. Sometimes that may be appropriate, but I don't think the spirit of it is.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Adding to Their Number

Acts 2:46-47 ESV
(46) And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
(47) praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

This is the end of the great story of Pentecost. You may recall that this was the birth of the first megachurch when the Lord saved 3000 people. These verses end chapter 2 to describe the early days of the church in Jerusalem. Note how the church grew -- the Lord added to their number.

You don't have to read too many of my posts to know how I feel about God's role in election. He is the one who grows His church. It is our job to be faithful to calling people, but God is the one who ultimately builds His church. I think that is a vital truth to remember. He is so much bigger and more powerful than we tend to think. At least more than I tend to think.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Here is today's Tozer:

Revival: It Requires Obedience

But why do you call Me "Lord, Lord," and not do the things which I
--Luke 6:46

It is my conviction that much, very much, prayer for and talk about
revival these days is wasted energy. Ignoring the confusion of
figures, I might say that it is hunger that appears to have no
object; it is dreamy wishing that is too weak to produce moral
action. It is fanaticism on a high level for, according to John
Wesley, "a fanatic is one who seeks desired ends while ignoring the
constituted means to reach those ends."...

The correction of this error is extemely difficult for it entails
more than a mere adjustment of our doctrinal beliefs; it strikes at
the whole Adam-life and requires self-abnegation, humility and cross
carrying. In short it requires obedience. And that we will do
anything to escape.

It is almost unbelievable how far we will go to avoid obeying God.
We call Jesus "Lord" and beg Him to rejuvenate our souls, but we are
careful to do not the things He says. When faced with a sin, a
confession or a moral alteration in our life, we find it much easier
to pray half a night than to obey God. The Size of the Soul, 18-19.

Our pastor likes to say that we should not waste our time with stupid prayers. In other words, don't pray about the adulterous relationship you're in. The Bible makes it clear what we are to do. Now we may pray for the grace to obey what God clearly commands, but we certainly do not need any direction. We just need to obey.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Great is Our God?

Check out this blog post. It will take you a few minutes, but it is worth it.

In Knowing God, Packer makes the point that God chooses us to be His friend, not the other way around. He likens it to getting a call from the President. Whether you like him or not, chances are you would make time to have lunch with a sitting President. Read that blog post about the vastness of creation and then consider how, if you are in Christ, the creator of all that wonder chose you to call His friend.

That is not something I meditate upon often enough. I get glimpses of it here and there, but I think it is too wonderful for me to really appreciate. It's certainly something to consider though.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Knowing God

I am now three chapters into J.I. Packer's classic Knowing God. If you've never read it I highly recommend what I've read so far. The main thrust so far is that there is a big difference between knowing about God and knowing God. This is what I've been fighting for over 2 years of seminary.

Now the key is to make sure I don't finish with just knowing more about knowing God...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Have you Ordered Yours?

You can go to their site to get your copy. I am really looking forward to mine that I ordered way back in April!

Friday, September 12, 2008


So here is the question I pose -- is it better to do one thing well and a bunch of things poorly or is it better to do a bunch of things at a mediocre level? This was my quandary this week.

Amanda had a fever starting on Tuesday. I worked from home that day and thought that she was OK with Noah, but really he was just wandering around our bedroom while she lay in bed. She was not in good shape. I took her temp that afternoon and it was 101. She told me to go to class, which I did.

Wednesday I was kind of stuck because she was still in bed. Frankly, I was kind of angry because I felt like she could have seen this sickness coming and stopped it (I'm not saying this was rational). She knew something was wrong and I told her that. Big mistake. I ended up taking Noah to spend the day with Aunt Tiffany. It was another long day.

I'd like to qualify a few things at this point. I only have 2 days of vacation left for the year, so I was hesitant to stay home for the day. I also was woke up at 3:00 AM on Monday and Tuesday nights for work. That didn't help my cognitive abilities any either.

Thursday morning found Amanda still sick, but not feverish. She said that she could cope with this day and she actually went beyond coping. When I got home from work I heard her talking to Tiffany and talking about she was "still very upset." Stupid me I didn't realize it was me that she was upset with. That's a guy for you.

We had a good talk about this. She felt like I was putting everything else ahead of her and she was right. I normally pride myself on not doing that, but it is just what I did. What a fool I was!

I had to do a lot of driving yesterday evening and that gave me time for thought. What I realized was that pride was getting in my way yet again. One of my coworkers has a wife with lupus and he has to stay home with her a lot. I kind of resent this sometimes, but I notice that our team lead makes no outward show of that being a problem. Why couldn't I take similar liberties when this happened with Amanda? Pride of not being "that guy." What a fool!

This was a good learning experience for me. It especially reminds me to take heed lest I fall.

Can I get an amen from a brother out there?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Passage for 9/11

This came up in my daily reading. A good reminder, don't you think?

Psalms 68:1-4 ESV
(1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song. God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!
(2) As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away; as wax melts before fire, so the wicked shall perish before God!
(3) But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!
(4) Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the LORD; exult before him!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Answered Prayer

I do not believe that God is ever beholden to us like a freed genie. However, I do know that He answers prayer. I don't really understand how this mystery works, but I do know that Scripture gives us some guidelines about prayer. Here is a pretty clear one:

Psalms 66:16-20 ESV
(16) Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
(17) I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue.
(18) If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
(19) But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
(20) Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

Note verse 18. I can remember when I lived in sin that my prayers seemed to hit the ceiling and just stop. Now I think mine go as far as the sky and stop, so I guess that's better. However, I also think that there are times when I feel like I'm really plugged in. Verse 18 seems to be one of those keys. How can God hear our prayers when we cherish iniquity in our hearts?

I think it's easy to overreact to this and think that we must be sinless if God is going to hear our prayers. That cannot be true or else no one could pray. Of course, we are sinless in one sense since we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ. However, what I think this verse means is that we should not be in a state where we are actually cherishing sin. We may sin. We may be tempted with evil thoughts. And so on.

But what do we cherish? Is our deepest heart desire to pursue the Lord and be more like Jesus? Or is our deepest desire to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Loving the World

John 3:16-21 ESV
(16) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
(17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
(18) Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
(19) And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.
(20) For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
(21) But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God."

I think we typically read verse 16 as "For God loved the word so much that He gave..." However, that's not really what the Greek says. It would probably be better to translate it as "For in this way God loved the world that He gave..." The Greek bears this out as does the rest of the passage.

This is something of a hobby horse for my Greek/Hebrew/Old Testament/Hermeneutics professor. Just something to think about.

Notice that the rest of the passage shows us what unregenerate and regenerate hearts look like. It is not saying that by doing good works we somehow merit salvation, though it is sometimes implicitly read that way based on how we use this for evangelism.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Please Pray for the Gores

Jason and Diana Gore used to be in leadership at our church, but are now involved in a smaller church in Raleigh. They recently had a pair of very preemie twins. Things are OK, but could be better. Check out their story here. Please pray for the babies to be OK, for the medical folks to have wisdom, and for the Gore's to enjoy God's peace through the storm.

Waiting in Silence

Psalms 62:1-2 ESV
(1) To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.
(2) He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

Verse 1 really hit home with me this morning. First of all, what does my soul really wait for? Is it the latest shipment of books from Amazon? Something I've bought off of eBay? Is it the next vacation? Date night with Amanda? Just getting through another work week? I think it's great to have little things in life that get us excited, but ultimately are we waiting on God?

How is my soul waiting? Is it in silence? Or am I too busy reading blogs, writing a blog, reading stuff, talking to people, playing music, singing, listening to podcasts, etc? I think all of those things are good. However, how often am I waiting in silence for God alone?

I think about how everything else leaves me thirsty for more. I listen to a good sermon on a podcast, but I want more. I get something fun in the mail, but it doesn't ultimately satisfy. God needs to be my rock and my salvation. And, thanks to Jesus, He can be.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Life at Fever Pitch

This is from today's Tozer:

Revival: Living at a Fever Pitch

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.
-Colossians 3:23

We live at a fever pitch, and whether we are erecting buildings,
laying highways, promoting athletic events, celebrating special days
or welcoming returning heroes we always do it with an exaggerated
flourish. Our building will be taller, our highway broader, our
athletic contest more colorful, our celebration more elaborate and
more expensive than would be true anywhere else on earth. We walk
faster, drive faster, earn more, spend more and run higher blood
pressure than any other people in the world.

In only one field of human interest are we slow and apathetic: that
is the field of personal religion. There for some strange reason our
enthusiasm lags. Church people habitually approach the matter of
their personal relation to God in a dull, half-hearted way which is
altogether out of keeping with their general temperament and wholly
inconsistent with the importance of the subject. Of God and Men,

That certainly hits home with me. How about you?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

How Do We React?

Job 38:1-3 ESV
(1) Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
(2) "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
(3) Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.

I think this passage pretty much speaks for itself. Who are we to question God? Yet how often do we do it?

Any time we think we know better than God we are certainly darkening counsel by words without knowledge. Of course, we don't think that we ever take that attitude. I would challenge you to examine your questionings. I think it's good to wrestle with the evil in the world. However, we can't let that put ourselves ahead of God and His inscrutable ways.