Saturday, January 31, 2009

Faith and New Birth

(by David Mathis)

This is part 2 of 6 in a series of quotes and endorsements anticipating the release of Finally Alive.

Quote

How does our faith relate to the new birth? From Finally Alive:

Your act of believing and God’s act of begetting are simultaneous. He does the begetting and you do the believing at the same instant. And—this is very important—his doing is the decisive cause of your doing. His begetting is the decisive cause of your believing. (102)

Endorsements

Don Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School:

I cannot too strongly celebrate the publication of this book. Owing in part to several decades of dispute over justification and how a person is set right with God, we have tended to neglect another component of conversion no less important.

Conversion under the terms of the new covenant is more than a matter of position and status in Christ, though never less: it includes miraculous Spirit-given transformation, something immeasurably beyond mere human resolution.

It is new birth; it makes us new creatures; it demonstrates that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. All the creedal orthodoxy in the world cannot replace it. The reason why ‘You must be born again’ is so important is that you must be born again.”

Alistair Begg, Parkside Church:

Classic Piper—crystal clear exposition.

(c) Desiring God Ministries.

Equilibrium

There are two faults of the Church which appear to me periodically to manifest themselves.

The one is when men ascribe wrong things to the Holy Ghost, and maketh him the author of human novelties and delusions. In seasons when the minds of good men were anxiously alive to spiritual operations, certain weak-headed or designing persons have grown fanatical, and being bewildered by their own confused feelings, and puffed up by their fleshly mind, have forsaken the true light which is in the Word, to follow after the will-o'-the-wisps of their own fancies, the ignis-fatuui of their own brains.

Such vain-glorious fools aspiring to be leaders, masters of sects, will boldly tell to men of itching ears that fresh doctrines have been specially revealed to them. They prate much of what they call the inner light (which is often an inner darkness), which dim candle they exalt above the light of the word of God, and tell you that marvellous things have been taught to them in dreams and visions.

Continue reading this post.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jews for Jesus Called a Cult


Jews for Jesus Behold Your God Israel Campaign news story and interview on Israeli television. Dan Sered, Israel Director of Jews for Jesus is interviewed along with Daniel Asor.

Top Stories from The Voice of the Martyrs

Top Stories

India – UPDATE - Relief Camps Closed in Orissa
Government authorities in Orissa state have shut down relief camps forcing thousands of Christians displaced by the wave of violence that began last August to flee, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts.

Believers have been left without adequate protection against further attacks or compensation for damages sustained. Many of the believers were threatened with violence while in the camps and fear further attacks if they return to their homes, many of which have not been rebuilt.

Continue reading this post.

China – Deathly Ill Husband Denied Visitation with his Imprisoned Wife
Chinese government authorities have denied Hua Zaichen, 91, visitation with his imprisoned wife, 79-year-old Shuang Shuying, according to China Aid Association (CAA).

Zaichen, who is deathly ill, requested a final meeting with his wife to say his goodbyes, but officials refused to grant the request. "Authorities say Shuang Shuying in not allowed to leave prison before February 8, 2009, the end of her two-year sentence. Officials stated that if her husband died before then, she would be allowed to see his body for 10 minutes and would have to be chained, handcuffed, shackled and wearing a prison uniform," CAA added.

Continue reading post.

India – Four Christians Arrested in Madhya Pradesh
On Jan. 5, police arrested four Christians on false charges of forcible conversion in the village of Kushalpura, Madhya Pradesh, India.

At 10:00 a.m., Pastor Kantilal Bhuria went to a home where 25 Christians were gathered for prayer. During the service, a mob of Hindu extremists barged into the house and accused Pastor Bhuria of forcibly converting Hindus.

Continue reading post.

India – Church Leaders Attacked
Praise God, Christians in Kandhamal district, Orissa were able to celebrate Christmas in relative peace and stability. However, in Hyderabad, Andra Pradesh, this was not the case.

On Dec. 23., several pastors and prayer group leaders in Hyderabad were attacked and severely beaten by Hindu extremists, VOM contacts report. The Christians were returning home from a Christmas prayer meeting near the suburb of Ramnagar. At the time of the report, three Hindus had been arrested for their involvement in the attack.

Continue reading post.

Pakistan – Young Christian Woman and Her Father Imprisoned
Twenty- year-old Sandul Bibi and her father Gulsher are in prison in Pakistan, charged with violating section 295-B of the Pakistani legal code, the "blasphemy" law. Sandul is falsely accused of ripping pages from the Quran. On Oct. 9 a large crowd of Muslims attacked Christian families at a church, throwing stones and firing guns. They were shouting, "Kill Gulsher and his daughter Sandul."

Continue reading post.

Parental Rights.org


Want to know what worldly things are happening on the parental rights front? Just visit ParentalRights.org. You can even sign up for an email newsletter to come straight to your inbox.

Elyse Fitzpatrick's HELPER BY DESIGN

A dear friend of mind is reading Elyse Fitzpatrick's HELPER BY DESIGN: GOD'S PERFECT PLAN FOR WOMEN IN MARRIAGE and it sounds very encouraging. The table of contents includes chapters entitled "His Companion, His Helper", "A Covenant Companionship", "What God has Joined Together", "The Two Shall Become One", "Called for His Purpose", "Created to Communicate", "Helping Your Husband Believe", and "Women Who Hope in God" among others. An excerpt of the book is available at Amazon.com. I don't know about you but I can ALWAYS use a little extra encouragement when it comes to being a biblical wife.

A favorite book of mine also on this topic is Martha Peace's THE EXCELLENT WIFE: A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE. An excerpt of this book can be found at CBD.com.

I love how God never asks us to do something that is impossible. His grace is ALWAYS sufficient and he provides relationships (sisters in Christ) and resources to help us along the way! Praise be to God!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ten Reasons to Preach the Word

"Pulpit Magazine" has moved and "Ten Reasons to Preach the Word" is from their new site!

Ten Reasons to Preach the Word
(by John MacArthur)
Faithfully preaching and teaching the Word must be the very heart of our ministry philosophy. Any other approach replaces the voice of God with human wisdom. Philosophy, politics, humor, psychology, homespun advice, and personal opinion can never accomplish what the Word of God does. Those things may be interesting, informative, entertaining, and sometimes even helpful—but they are not the business of the church. The preacher's task is not to be a conduit for human wisdom; he is God's voice to speak to the congregation.

Continue reading this post.

Keeping God the Main Thing

(by: me)

I received an email from a loved one regarding a popular sports icon in our world today. The story enclosed in the email was very touching yet there was only one sentence within the entire narrative (that stretched the length of a whole page) that mentioned the fact this athlete is a Christian. My heart broke that the article raved about the life this man has lead yet God was not in the picture. He had been pushed aside to a cameo in this widely coveted life of fame and fortune.

I know and understand not all have been called as the “elect”. (Matthew 24:22, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:20, Mark 13:22, Mark 13:27, Luke 18:7, Romans 8:33, Romans 11:7, 2 Timothy 2:10, Titus 1:1). I am thankful these people have good examples to follow. But for those who are believers in God and His Son, Jesus is our hero. He is who we should aspire to imitate and who we should train our children to cherish, not worldly figures confined to the flesh. We can only hear words and see actions. We cannot observe the heart and therefore cannot be sure if we are following a worldly man that he is in fact the correct one to pursue. Take Jesus’ disciples for example. All twelve of them looked the part however how many would have been led astray if they had chosen to follow Judas Iscariot instead of Christ Jesus? In my opinion it is safer to follow the God-man instead of a human.

The hardest thing my King has ever commanded me to do has been to leave the dead to bury their dead (Matthew 8:22, Luke 9:60). I walk around the battle field with my armor on and my sword unsheathed. (Ephesians 6:10-20.) I poke and prod at the dead and demand that they get up! Who am I to even suggest I am worthy of such a command? During some seasons I even drag the lifeless along with me. I cry out in great pain and anguish…sometimes even daring to question my King. Eventually the great weight of the lifeless becomes too overwhelming and I fall to the ground tired and nearly hopeless. Other times I sit…no…lay face down at the foot of the throne. Who am I to think I deserve to sit upright? My rest comes in communing with my King. And yet I still find myself pleading for His mercy and begging Him to call loved ones and strangers alike to “come forth”. I must remind myself that His ways and His timing are perfect! And He knows their hearts! I do not.

This life is but a vapor (James 4:14) and thankfully so. Great temptation swirls around trying to entice the flesh. It is a challenge to keep God the main thing in my life and the lives of the children in my home.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12. NKJV.)

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15. ESV.)

© B.T.P.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Getting Mom's Advice

(by Nicole Whitacre)

For a young woman transitioning to adulthood, a wise mother’s influence, guidance, and instruction are special blessings from God she should enthusiastically embrace. Her mother’s teaching is invaluable as she learns to walk in God’s ways.

So girls, how would you describe your attitude toward your mom and her counsel? Does she fulfill the role God intends as the primary influence in your life?

Not sure? Here’s a little quiz to help you figure it out:

Continue reading this post.

RE: Membership

(by Greg Gilbert: 9Marks)

On Thabiti's note, I really don't understand how some Christians can object to the idea of church membership. I mean, Paul uses the word in Scripture. It's not like we have to deduce the idea from vague emanations and penumbras.

1 Corinthians 12:27: "Now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it."

I know that's a metaphor, but that's also the point---The metaphor Paul uses here is precisely where we get the idea of membership.

Continue reading this post.

The Reason for the Rules

I downloaded this video and tried to upload it here but was unsuccessful so I'm going to do the next best thing (though not as convenient) and post the link here so you can download and watch it yourself. :)

Michael Mckinley from 9Marks says, "Don't listen for the audience participation, listen for the gospel. It was a wonderfuly encouraging and challenging message from Leviticus 19:1-18."

Click here to download "The Reason for the Rules".

Angels: fixed attention

(by Dan Phillips)

We know a lot about angels, and that we don't know a lot about angels. There is a great deal of Biblical material, on the one hand; but there are many gaps, holes, and lacunae.

We know that angels are spirit beings of great knowledge, antiquity and power. They can move quickly (Daniel 9:21; Luke 2:13), can appear on earth (Genesis 18:2), or in the throne room of God (Job 1:6). They are spirits (Hebrews 1:7), but can take tangible form and interact with matter (Daniel 10:10). They have consciousness of self and of others (Luke 1:19).

Continue reading this post.

The Baby in My Womb Leaped for Joy

(by David Mathis)

This week's sermon: "The Baby in My Womb Leaped for Joy"

Human life is a magnificent gift. No other beings in the universe continue to originate in God's image and live forever.

Despite the deceit and blindness in the world, the Christian church, throughout her history, has recognized the sanctity of human life. But the authority is not merely tradition but texts, like Job 1 and Psalm 139, which teach that it is God's prerogative to give and take life and it is God who knits persons together in the womb.

Luke 1 gives us a glimpse into the womb—and a glimpse into the inspired author's assumptions. Luke uses the word "baby" to denote not only the post-born Jesus in the manger (2:16) but also the preborn John in the womb (Luke 1:41, 44). Luke also notes that the preborn John was "filled with the Holy Spirit," a reality which the Bible only ascribes to persons.

The assumption is that the baby in the womb is a person. And the implication is that human life in the womb should be protected. The church's Savior didn't have to wait for birth to become a person; he was "Son of God" and "Lord" from conception.

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Be Courageous, Mr. President


"The Baby in My Womb Leaped for Joy"
January 25, 2009
Luke 1:24-45

For more resources, visit www.desiringGod.org

Book Review - Fearless Pilgrim

(by Tim Challies)

Faith Cook is beginning to make her mark as a Christian biographer. While she has compiled short biographies of hymn writers and other noteworthy believers, more notably she has completed several lengthy biographies of such subjects as Selina, Countess of Huntingdon; Lady Jane Grey; and William Grimshaw. And now, in her latest book, Fearless Pilgrim, she chronicles the life of John Bunyan.

It is interesting that the best-selling biography of Bunyan continues to be Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, Bunyan’s autobiography. While there is no doubt that it is a classic in its own right, this book may not satiate the reader’s desire to learn about Bunyan’s life.

Continue reading this post.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Don't Miss This Deal!

(by Nicole Whitacre)

Of all the God-given opportunities for teenage girls, few are overlooked more than her relationship with her mom. The world peddles friends and mom substitutes as more desirable. Even in the church, many have disregarded the importance of a mother’s role.

But a whole, new exciting world of parent-child relating is to be found in God’s Word. Verse after verse insists that Mom and Dad play an active and primary role in their children’s lives.

Continue reading this post.

Prayer as Duty and Delight

Okay, once again it seems the theme for the day is prayer! Not surprising to me since I struggle to be more disciplined in prayer. The first post is from Tim Challies, then one from Matt Waymeyer of Pulpit Magazine, the third is also from Tim Challies, and the last is from Greg Gilbert with the 9Marks Blog. I hope you find them to be an encouragement!!!

Prayer as Duty and Delight

(by Tim Challies)
The Apostle had confidence that God was able to do things far beyond our ability to even imagine, closing his prayer for the Ephesians by praying in the name of “him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” What seems so big to us is so small to God. Is the Creator of all the universe bound by the limitations that seem so clear to us?
Read this post.


Why Pray if God Is Sovereign? (Part 3)

By Matt Waymeyer
So far, we have considered two reasons to pray in light of God’s sovereignty. Today we will consider two more.

3. God is able to respond to our prayers.

Rather than hindering the prayers of believers, the sovereignty of God ought to motivate them to pray, for “prayer grows from the certainty of God’s omnipotence and sovereignty” (The God Who Hears, 47). Put another way, if God does not reign in sovereignty over His creation and is not able to accomplish whatever He desires in and through it, why bother requesting of Him what He is unable to deliver?

To illustrate, if a five-year-old boy repeatedly asks his mother to make it stop raining on a Saturday morning, this may create a precious memory, but in the final analysis the boy’s request is misguided.
Continue reading this post.

A Prayer for the Lord’s Supper

Tim Challies
Today is widely regarded as the best Sunday of the month at Grace Fellowship Church. We gather in the morning for our regular morning service but afterward, instead of going our separate ways, we enjoy a potluck fellowship lunch. Following that, we have a brief second service that culminates in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. I thought this was an appropriate prayer for any of us who are preparing to enjoy Lord’s Supper on this Lord’s Day. It is drawn from The Valley of Vision.
Continue reading this post.

Prayers at Capitol Hill
(by Greg Gilbert)
Some time ago we were talking a bit about the various prayers we pray during our services at Capitol Hill Baptist. A few commenters asked for some examples of those various prayers. Well, I found some. Here, for example, is a Prayer of Praise from 2007:
Father, we praise you that you are a God who makes wonderful promises. We praise you that you promise life, peace and joy; you promise a world ruled by a perfect ruler who loves and cares for his subjects.
Continue reading this post.

Carpe diem, preacherdude

(by Dan Phillips)

To me, as a preacher, one of the most stirring, throat-grabbing-and-shaking passages in the Bible is the one that starts this way:
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... (2 Timothy 4:1)

What? You charge me what? I'm sitting up, wide-awake, alert, holding my breath. With an attention-getter like that, what is the apostle going to say? Next verse:
...PREACH THE WORD!

There it is. That is our defining task. That is what we must do.

There may be pastoral activities that are nice, and even complementary — but this is not one of them. This is a must. This is definitional. This is non-negotiable. Fail at this, and you fail at pastoral ministry.

Continue reading this post.

Fifteen Pro-Life Truths to Speak

(by John Piper)

"You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." - Jesus Christ

1. Existing fetal homicide laws make a man guilty of manslaughter if he kills the baby in a mother's womb (except in the case of abortion).

2. Fetal surgery is performed on babies in the womb to save them while another child the same age is being legally destroyed.

3. Babies can sometimes survive on their own at 23 or 24 weeks, but abortion is legal beyond this limit.

4. Living on its own is not the criterion of human personhood, as we know from the use of respirators and dialysis.

5. Size is irrelevant to human personhood, as we know from the difference between a one-week-old and a six-year-old.

6. Developed reasoning powers are not the criterion of personhood, as we know from the capacities of three-month-old babies.

7. Infants in the womb are human beings scientifically by virtue of their genetic make up.

8. Ultrasound has given a stunning window on the womb that shows the unborn at eight weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. All the organs are present, the brain is functioning, the heart is pumping, the liver is making blood cells, the kidneys are cleaning fluids, and there is a fingerprint. Virtually all abortions happen later than this date.

9. Justice dictates that when two legitimate rights conflict, the limitation of rights that does the least harm is the most just. Bearing a child for adoption does less harm than killing him.

10. Justice dictates that when either of two people must be inconvenienced or hurt to alleviate their united predicament, the one who bore the greater responsibility for the predicament should bear more of the inconvenience or hurt to alleviate it.

11. Justice dictates that a person may not coerce harm on another person by threatening voluntary harm on themselves.

12. The outcast and the disadvantaged and exploited are to be cared for in a special way, especially those with no voice of their own.

13. What is happening in the womb is the unique person-nurturing work of God, who alone has the right to give and take life.

14. There are countless clinics that offer life and hope to both mother and child (and father and parents), with care of every kind lovingly provided by people who will meet every need they can.

15.Jesus Christ can forgive all sins, and will give all who trusts him the help they need to do everything that life requires.

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So in Love


(by: me)
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12. ESV.)

One afternoon the oldest child in my home asked why Christians feel they need to make a public display of their dedication to God [by getting baptized]. I was thankful when God put the perfect illustration into my mind.

I said, “It’s kind of like having a wedding. You do it to show everyone the commitment and love you have for your spouse.”

To which she replied, “Oh like when I hold my boyfriend’s hand. I don’t have to but I do it because I love him.”

“Yes,” I said, “Christians are so in love with God and His Son they get baptized.”

Being in love was something she could understand. I think that is something most of us can comprehend. And that is how I now describe to others what it means to me to be a Christian. It means being so in love with and having complete belief in God and His Son.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:8. Emphasis added.)

I feel it is a matter of the heart.
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34.)

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21.)

Being in love with God and being faithful to Him keeps me dependent on Him, serving Him, and in a constant awareness of whether or not my behavior and attitude glorify Him. My life revolves around Him similarly to how my household and marriage revolve around my husband. I love therefore I serve. I do not serve in the hopes of being loved. I would never expect God to say, “Oh, Brook. You did good works today so currently I love you.”
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—… For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-5 & 8-9.)


© 2009 B.T.P.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Morning and Evening 1/24 AM

Morning...

Psalm 91:3
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler.

God delivers His people from the snare of the fowler in two senses. From, and out of. First, He delivers them from the snare-does not let them enter it; and secondly, if they should be caught therein, He delivers them out of it. The first promise is the most precious to some; the second is the best to others. "He shall deliver thee from the snare."

Continue reading post.

Evening...

Luke 10:40
Martha was cumbered about much serving.

Her fault was not that she served: the condition of a servant well becomes every Christian. "I serve," should be the motto of all the princes of the royal family of heaven. Nor was it her fault that she had "much serving." We cannot do too much. Let us do all that we possibly can; let head, and heart, and hands, be engaged in the Master's service.

Continue reading post.

The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards

(by Tim Challies)

In 2006, Reformation Trust published Steven Lawson’s Foundations of Grace, the first volume in a promising series titled “A Long Line of Godly Men.” Though the original publication schedule called for a new book every year or two, the second volume, Pillars of Grace has been repeatedly pushed back and is now listed as a November 2009 release. However, while we’ve been awaiting that title, we’ve been treated to two volumes in a companion series called “A Long Line of Godly Men Profiles.” The first of these told of The Expository Genius of John Calvin while future releases promise to focus a spotlight on an aspect of the ministries of Martin Luther, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, and other notable pastors and theologians. The most recent volume, the second in the series, looks to the “Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards.”

Continue reading this post.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Cup


CJ Mahaney Sermon Jam

The Christian Lover

(by Tim Challies)

Marriage is under attack in our day; there is little doubt about it. We need only look to the divorce rates among professed Christians to see that believers have been far from immune from the spirit of this age. In his new book The Christian Lover: The Sweetness of Love and Marriage in the Letters of Believers, Michael Haykin says that “reading expressions of love from the past can be a helpful way of responding to the frangibility of Christian marriage in our day.” And so he offers a collection, a small anthology, of letters from husbands to wives and wives to husbands—letters that share the beauty of the gift that is marriage.

Continue reading this post.

Why Pray if God Is Sovereign? (Part 2)

(by Matt Waymeyer)

Why Pray?

In this series, we will consider five reasons why believers should pray in light of the sovereignty of God.

Continue reading this post.

A Piper Message for Women

(by Jon Bloom)

Last fall, John Piper delivered the opening message at the True Women 08 conference, sponsored by Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s ministry, Revive Our Hearts. ROH aired this message in 2 parts on their radio program last week.

* Part 1, "The Most Influential People in the World"
* Part 2, "Don't Waste Your Womanhood"

Why I hate religion - Mark Driscoll


Pastor Mark Driscoll explains the differences between religion and redemption. For more messages and information go to www.marshillchurch.org.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Battling Frustration, Resentment, and Disappointment

(by: me)

Today is just one of those days where I am really struggling with my sins of frustration, resentment, and disappointment. The day started out on a rocky note and immediately my flesh flared up. Without stopping to consider why this day was not going as I had planned, I continued on in blind bitterness playing out conversations in my head with various people with whom I had a bone to pick. Neglecting to reevaluate my focus, I stumbled around muttering along the way wishing things were going differently. But wait, though this day is nowhere close to what I envisioned it would be it is exactly as my Heavenly Father had planned.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9.)
This seems to be the current theme for me.

What drives me to be perturbed (I love that word), bitter, and let down? Perhaps it is a pride issue? Do I think of myself as too important to deserve to be treated poorly or to have my day spoiled? Maybe it is unthankfulness in my heart? Do I feel I deserve more than what I have or what is being offered to me? Or possibly it is a lack of forgiveness? Am I expecting others to be perfect in their words and actions? Other than my own, are there additional sin issues in the mix? Do I feel I have been sinned against? What is my issue and am I handling it appropriately (in other words, in a manner that brings God glory)?

Does the cause make a difference really…because no matter what my excuse or justification my sins of annoyance, animosity, and dissatisfaction are still UGLY. They are a huge blemish on my prideful face…a massive, festering cold sore on my lip. (Yeah, I have one healing right now.) Disgusting! How does my aggravation make others feel? Does it exasperate them? Do I hurt them or cause them to stumble?

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3-4. ESV.)

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." 20 To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:19-21. ESV.)


Boy, this would be so much easier if I had my Heavenly Father and His Son with whom to talk things out.

© 2009 B.T.P.

Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross

(by Tony Reinke)

The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are an interconnected priority for the church (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). French theologian John Calvin wrote that when we speak of the benefits we receive from Christ’s resurrection we are implying the crucifixion of Christ—and the other way around.* The two themes are interconnected.

And a new book has brought together writings on the resurrection of Christ in light of the death of Christ. The book is designed for the Easter season (which is quickly approaching), but the cross and the resurrection are worthy of our attention year round.

Continue reading this post.

Why Pray if God Is Sovereign?

(By Matt Waymeyer)

The story is told about a small town in the south. For many years, this town had been “dry” in that no alcohol was ever sold or served there. But one day a businessman in the area decided to build a tavern. In response to this new tavern, a group of Christians from a local church became concerned and planned an all-night prayer meeting to ask God to intervene. Shortly after the prayer meeting that night, lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground.

Continue reading this post.

Why Are We Striving To Make Abortion Unthinkable?

(by Tim Challies)

Today I join hundreds of thousands in Washington, D.C., in the annual March for Life to publicly lament the death of 50 million preborn children and to pray for the day when abortion becomes unthinkable.

In doing so, I acknowledge the resistance, even offense, taken by many by asserting that abortion is the moral issue of our day. I am familiar with the claim that asserts equal concern for poverty, global warming, aids prevention, war, and more. All of these appear to me worth researching and debating, as iron sharpens iron, as to the various causes and possible solutions.

But abortion is not on par.

Continue reading this post.

Holding A Miracle

Fabulous posts from Desiring God Ministries:

Jason French has created a beautiful celebration of God’s gift of life. He wrote the song and put together the video. It’s called “I’m Holding A Miracle.” We will show it as part of our sanctity of life focus this Sunday. I commend it to you for your joy.

Click here.

Lincoln’s Logic on Slavery Applied to Abortion

On January 12, 2009 Samantha Heiges, age 23, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for drowning her newborn in Burnsville, Minnesota. If she had arranged for a doctor to kill the child a few weeks earlier she would be a free woman.

What are the differences between this child before and after birth that would justify it’s protection just after birth but not just before? There are none. This is why Abraham Lincoln’s reasoning about slavery is relevant in ways he could not foresee. He wrote:

You say A. is white, and B. is black. It is color, then; the lighter, having the right to enslave the darker? Take care. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with a fairer skin than your own.

You do not mean color exactly? You mean the whites are intellectually the superiors of the blacks, and, therefore have the right to enslave them? Take care again. By this rule, you are to be slave to the first man you meet, with an intellect superior to your own.

But, say you, it is a question of interest; and, if you can make it your interest; you have the right to enslave another. Very well. And if he can make it his interest, he has the right to enslave you. (“Fragments: On Slavery")

There are no morally relevant differences between white and black or between child-in-the-womb and child-outside-the-womb that would give a right to either to enslave or kill the other.

(via Justin Taylor)


The President, the Passengers, and the Patience of God

Sometimes we are so overwhelmed at being treated better than we deserve that we must exult in the all-sovereign God—the God of birds' flight and Obama’s rise. When King David pondered how many were God’s “wondrous deeds,” he said, “I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told” (Psalm 40:5). That’s the way I feel watching God’s public mercies in the last few days...

Read the rest of the article.



© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Freedom in Christ

(by Tim Challies)

"My friend and I had taken hours out of our weekend to clean Barb’s squalid, rundown house. But then, when she got home, she was angry—very angry. Now there was one thing I neglected to say about Barb. Beside her couch/bed was one of those Rubbermaid containers, the kind with several drawers. Each of these drawers contained an assortment of silk Hermes scarves. Each of these scarves, we later learned, had been bought for several hundred dollars and Barb had assembled them as a kind of savings account."

Continue reading this post.

Pray for President Obama

(by C.J. Mahaney)

"I think I had the best seat in the house yesterday for the inauguration of our new President Barack Obama. Please don't misunderstand. I wasn't actually there on the Mall. Even though I live in the Washington DC area and could have received tickets, I wasn't present for this historic event. Instead I was in Louisville spending three days with my good friends Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Lig Duncan, John Piper, and Thabiti Anyabwile."

Continue reading this post.

Advocate Away

(by: me)

Sometimes while speaking to a friend of mine I hear her say, “Always the advocate.” As I meditate on this I find myself reminded of 1 Timothy 2:5 which says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” And if Christ Jesus is my mediator/advocate to my Heavenly Father then why would I not be a supporter for Him here in the world? If Jesus takes my word before his Father then I should not hesitate to repeat His word to everyone this side of heaven. 2 Timothy 4: 1-2 reads, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

I know and understand the bible is not for everyone as God did not elect everybody. But who am I to discern whose names are written in the book of life? Would I have assumed Saul of Tarsus’s name was there? Certainly I would have thought Judas Iscariot’s name was in there yet it is not! He looked the part! Yet, I cannot see the heart. Only He who created us can!

Another piece of scripture (not quite related) I have been thinking about a lot lately is Luke 10:38-42.

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ 41 But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’”

Oh how I pray each day that I too will choose the “good portion”. Psalm 119:57 states, “You are my portion, O Lord.” I am thankful the Lord has placed it on my heart to be more like Mary and less like Martha…to sit at His feet and listen to His teaching instead of busy myself with everyday, empty things and vacant talk. I do not wish to be fearful and worried but rather joyful and upright with my focus steadily on Him. I desire to train the children in my home in His ways. (Proverb 22:6.)

“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

“If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:21-27. NKJV.)

© 2009 B.T.P.

Cultivating a Godly Child

(by John MacArthur)

"An old Chinese proverb says, 'One generation plants the trees, and another gets the shade.' You and I are still benefiting from the shade provided by trees planted by our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. We are shaded, to some degree, by their moral standards and spiritual commitment.

Now the spade is in our hands and the question facing us is, 'What kind of trees are we planting to shade the future generation from what may well be the blistering heat of an Antichrist-dominated world?' Are we leaving our children totally exposed? It's obvious that the morals, values, and ethics of our culture are disintegrating."

Continue reading this post.

This description of the book also includes the headings:
> Delinquent from Birth?
> Taking Up the Spade
> Don't Provoke Your Children
> Parenting by the Book

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing…Yet

(by Michael Ramey: Parental Rights.org)

"According to Canada’s CBC News, the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal on Tuesday (January 13) heard arguments in the case of a Gatineau father seeking clarification of parental rights after his daughter took him to court in June 2008 and won a judgement to overturn a grounding he had imposed on her for disobedience. In the original case, decided by Judge Suzanne Tessier of the Quebec Superior Court, the man’s 12-year-old daughter challenged his right to prohibit her from attending a school trip after she defied his orders to stay off the internet. He imposed that rule when he learned the girl was posting “inappropriate” pictures of herself on adult dating sites, but the pre-teen circumvented his parenting by using a friend’s computer instead. As a result, the father told her she could not attend the three-day overnight trip that her school was taking to celebrate their graduation from sixth grade. Judge Tessier ruled that the father had in fact overstepped his authority, and that the punishment was too severe."

Continue reading this article.

A Prayer for President Obama

(by Albert Mohler)

"Our Father, Lord of all creation, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: We pray today with a sense of special urgency and responsibility. We come before you to pray for our new President, Barack Obama, and for all those in this new administration who now assume roles of such high responsibility.

We know that you and you alone are sovereign; that you rule over all, and that you alone are able to keep and defend us. We know that our times are in your hands, and that 'the king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord' [Proverbs 21:1]. Our confidence is in you and in you alone."

Continue reading this post.

A Slave to Sin

(by Tim Challies)

As my eyes adjusted to the gloom I paused in amazement. The house was packed, from floor to ceiling, from wall to wall, with stuff—stuff of all shapes and sizes. I could see only small glimpses of the floor, here and there. Even the portions of the carpet and hardwood that were visible were covered in the excrement of countless thousands of rodents. Immediately inside the front door was a wardrobe stuffed full of clothes.

Click here to read this post.

Being Pro-Life Christians Under a Pro-Choice President

(by John Piper)

That is the title of a sermon I preached January 17, 1993 three days before Bill Clinton was inaugurated president. It is just as relevant—or more—today.

The text was 1 Peter 2:17, “Honor the king.” I closed with eight ways to honor a pro-choice president. The seventh was this:

We will honor you by expecting from you straightforward answers to straightforward questions. We would not expect this from a con-man, but we do expect it from an honorable man.

For example,

1. Are you willing to explain why a baby's right not to be killed is less important than a woman's right not to be pregnant?

2. Or are you willing to explain why most cities have laws forbidding cruelty to animals, but you oppose laws forbidding cruelty to human fetuses? Are they not at least living animals?

3. Or are you willing to explain why government is unwilling to take away the so-called right to abortion on demand even though it harms the unborn child; yet government is increasingly willing to take away the right to smoke, precisely because it harms innocent non-smokers, killing 3,000 non-smokers a year from cancer and as many as 40,000 non-smokers a year from other diseases?

4. And if you say that everything hangs on whether the fetus is a human child, are you willing to go before national television in the oval office and defend your support for the "Freedom of Choice Act" by holding in your hand a 21 week old fetus and explaining why this little one does not have the fundamental, moral, and constitutional right to life? Are you willing to say to parents in this church who lost a child at that age and held him in their hands, this being in your hands is not and was not a child with any rights of its own under God or under law?

Perhaps you have good answers to each of these questions. We will honor you by expecting you to defend your position forthrightly in the public eye.

You have immense power as President of the United States. To wield it against the protection of the unborn without giving a public accounting in view of moral and scientific reality would be dishonorable. We will honor you by expecting better.

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Christ and the Holy Spirit

This past Sunday, Pastor Jim Smith of North Hills Christian Church delivered a fabulous sermon titled "Christ and the Holy Spirit". I felt convicted to share it with you!

[Click Here to Play]
Christ and the Holy Spirit
John 16:1-15
by Jim Smith

Sermon: The Troubled Soul

The Troubled Soul
C.J. Mahaney
Psalm 42
January 18, 2009
Capitol Hill Baptist Church; Washington, D.C.
1:06:33 run time; 11.5MB MP3

Download here.

Christianity Is the Best Explanation

(by John Piper)

Yesterday I said I’d share Mark Noll’s explanation of America’s successes and failures in the matter of race. Here is his summary which penetrates to the bottom of the “both-and” nature of the God-loved, God-cursed world we live in.

To explain the simultaneous manifestation of superlative good and pervasive malevolence in the history of race and religion, neither simple trust in human nature nor simple cynicism about American hypocrisy is adequate.... [Something else must explain the pervasive commingling of opposites.]

That commingling has included domination with liberation, false consciousness with genuine idealism, altruism with greed, self-seeking with self-sacrifice, economic independence with economic exploitation, tribalism with universalism, hatred with love. Any final explanation for the conundrums of American history must be able to account for a mind-stretching conjunction of opposites.

It must evoke both the goodness of the human creation and the persistence of evil in all branches of humanity.... It must show how the best human creatures are sabotaged by their own hubris and the worst human depredations are enlightened by unexpected shafts of light.... It must be able to hold these contradictions, antinomies, and paradoxes in one cohesive vision.

Is there such a vision? Noll believes there is. He calls it “Historic Christian Faith.”

God made humans, and the creation was good - yet at the same time, humankind is fallen and will never escape the effects of sin. Further, God offers in the work of his Son, Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, the transforming prospect of redemption— yet redemption never equals perfection; the redeemed must always recognize their own shortcomings and be filled with gratitude for all the gifts of creation, including all other human creatures.

Ultimately, because the manifestation of God in Jesus Christ is, at the same time, so thoroughly human and so thoroughly divine, so completely infinite and so completely finite, the heart of the Christian faith offers the hint of an explanation for how the commingling of contradictions, antinomies, and paradoxes can occur in other spheres of life. (God and Race in American Politics, 180-181, paragraph breaks added)

In other words, the very paradoxes of good and evil in history bear witness to the Christian vision as the best explanation of why things are the way they are. The true historian becomes in the end an apologist.


(c) Desiring God Ministries.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Joyful, Serious Church Life Together

(by John Piper)

In my thinking about the nature of the church, I am often inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged by Hitler in 1945. He wrote a little book called Life Together that described his plan for church community in the agonies of World War II in Germany. John Godsey says that it involved “a kind of theological education that was startlingly new in Germany: a communal life in which Jesus Christ’s call to discipleship was taken seriously.” That is what we want to do at Bethlehem—take Jesus and his church seriously...

Read the rest of the article.

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

The Weapon of Prayer

(by David Brickner)
"As I write, the headlines are dominated by war and unspeakable violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip. Thus far, the United States is standing by Israel's efforts to defend herself from thousands of Qassam and Grad rockets that Hamas has been firing into the civilian population areas.

Some say that Israel's response is disproportionate, but war cannot be reduced to a simple mathematical equation. The fact that Hamas is militarily inferior does not make them morally superior in this conflict. Unlike Hamas, Israel does not intentionally target civilians - but in one of the most densely populated areas of the world, military conflict inevitably results in civilian casualties, as we have seen. The horror of it is too great for words."

Continue reading this post.

Searching for the Spiritual Gifts

(by Tim Challies)
"In recent days I have received several emails dealing with spiritual gifts. Unfortunately, due to constraints on my time, I’ve been unable to spend a lot of time answering these. Today I want to spend just a few moments at least sharing some basic biblical teaching on the spiritual gifts. Much of this is drawn from my book The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment where I have an entire chapter dealing with gifts in general and the gift of discernment in particular.

"Often when I hear people speak of spiritual gifts they do so in this manner. 'I have the gift of [insert gift here] and my church has no way for me to serve in that way.'"

Continue reading this post.

Changing Seasons

(by Carolyn Mahaney)
"Think back five years ago. Was your life different from the way it is now?

"Maybe you weren’t even a Christian at that time. Perhaps you have since gotten married or graduated or changed jobs or moved to a new place or had a baby (or two or more!). You may have experienced a life-altering tragedy or a surprising success.

"Even if you don’t feel as if your life is dramatically different, change has occurred, however imperceptibly. You’ve probably walked through relational changes, experienced physical changes, learned new skills, or developed new interests."

Continue reading this post.

Clarifying Calvinism (Parts 4 & 5)

(by Phil Johnson)

Part IV: One more recommendation, and an explanation of why this issue is important to me

"Here’s a recommendation for your iPod: If you are someone who is resistant to Calvinism, or you don’t feel you fully understand enough about it, and you want a single, simple overview of the substance and the history of Calvinism, I gave a message to our college students almost two years ago titled 'The Story of Calvinism,' where I did my best to cover all that ground in one shot. It’s on the internet with the rest of my sermons, and you can download it for free. The web address is swordandtrowel.org, and look for the title 'The Story of Calvinism.'"

Continue reading this post.

Part V: Why this issue is really a lot simpler than most people think
"At the end of the previous post, I described how even in my Arminian days, I affirmed an awful lot of truth about the sovereignty of God: I would have affirmed with no reservation whatsoever that God is God; that He does all His good pleasure; that no one can make Him do otherwise; that He is in control and in charge no matter how much noise evildoers try to make; and not only is He in charge, He is working all things out for my good and His glory. As a matter of fact, my confidence in the promise of Romans 8:28 was what motivated my prayer life."

Continue reading this post.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Battling Sin

(by: me)

I do not know about you but my quiet more deceiving sin likes to kick my butt on a regular basis. I know I have said this many times before but I’m about to say it again…my absolute favorite book (aside from the bible) is Jerry Bridges’ RESPECTABLE SINS! His approach to everyday sin is encouraging, inspiring, and a fabulous reminder!

It drives me bonkers how easy and effortless it is to sin (though I despise it). Not to mention how fast one can fall back into a habit of civil sins. (That sounds like an oxymoron to me…like a reputable thief or a friendly enemy.)

I struggle with my own sins of anxiety, frustration, discontentment, unthankfulness, pride, impatience, anger, judgmentalism, and worldliness when in various situations…especially when dealing with stinkers and their bad attitudes!!! A feeling of “ick” wells up in my heart when my focus shifts off of God and His precious Son and onto ungodly, worldly trials. An unkind word from a stranger or when a loved one sins against me puts the squeeze of stress onto me and out of the overflow of my heart my mouth speaks. The question is, “What’s going to come out?” Is it going to be God honoring or a wretched sin of the flesh?

But I am reminded all of this is from my Heavenly Father. It first goes through His hands so that it can come to me with a great purpose. Proverbs 16:4 states, "The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil." (cf. 1 Peter 2:8; Jude 4; Romans 9:22). What? God even made that situation when a loved one sinned against me? But why? It is for His glory and my good. He grows me in various ways and molds me. In many ways I do not even resemble the person I once was. Proverbs 19:21 tells me, "Many are the plans of a man's heart but the counsel of the Lord, it will stand."

Proverbs 21:1 says, "The King's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he wishes." Time and again God’s word echoes that He is sovereign. I may go through the actions of trying to be in control of my life events but the Lord directs my steps. Boy am I thankful for that!

So each time I am tempted to sin I need to preach to myself that His ways are perfect even though I cannot see that this side of heaven. His timing is flawless and I need to leave the unknown areas of my life to an all knowing God!

"The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome but . . . able to teach . . . with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will." (2 Timothy 2:24-26. ESV.)

©2009 B.T.P.

10 Exercises To Make You a Better Writer or Get You Out of a Rut*

If you enjoy the worldly pleasure of writing like I do then you will appreciate this post by literary agent Rachelle Gardner. Check out her post: 10 Exercises To Make You a Better Writer or Get You Out of a Rut*.

Clarifying Calvinism (Part 3)

(by Phil Johnson)

Part III: Some book recommendations

"Before we go further in this series, let me recommend a handful of books. The first book I want to recommend is a new book by Roger Olson, who is himself an Arminian, and he has written a defense of Arminianism titled Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. You might be surprised to hear me recommend this book because I published a review of it on my weblog a few months ago, and the review wasn’t altogether positive. The review was written by my friend Gary Johnson, who is pastor of The Church Of The Redeemer in Mesa, Arizona. Gary’s mentor, by the way, was S. Lewis Johnson."

Continue reading this post.

Good or Best?

(by Carolyn Mahaney)

"'Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil' Ephesians 5:5-16

"The phrase, 'making the best,' means to 'buy up, rescue from loss, or improve' the use of time. It is a metaphor taken from the merchants and traders of the ancient Near East, who aggressively pursued the best deals when they would buy, sell, or trade. (We told you this idea of 'shopping for time' comes straight from Scripture!)"

Continue reading this post.

Please pray over those waiting to be adopted and those adopting....

The adoption process can be trying and overwhelming at times though God's ways are perfect and His timing is flawless! Please be praying for those who are waiting to be adopted and for those families who are trying to adopt.

Here's a post from Urban Servant regarding this process and her prayer request for these children and families.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Look Carefully

(by Carolyn Mahaney)

"'Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil' Ephesians 5:5-16

"Look carefully. It’s a sobering command, is it not? It means that we are to walk with the utmost accuracy, with extreme care, with caution.

"We are not to trudge blindly or routinely through our days. We shouldn’t just let life happen and try to deal with the results, be what they may. We should not allow one day to flow into the next, being concerned only with the present moment."

Continue reading this post.

Goals (Part 2)

(by C.J. Mahaney)

"Have you ever looked at an empty calendar and asked yourself, 'What am I supposed to be doing right now?' Have you looked at a calendar filled to the brim with 25 hours of things to do each day and asked yourself, 'What am I supposed to be doing right now?'

By themselves, neither empty schedules nor suffocating schedules help clarify our daily priorities. But identifying our God-ordained roles will. And if you are following along in this blog series, you have hopefully by now developed your own list of God-ordained roles."

Continue reading this post.

Spurgeon (and sanity) on pastor's wives

(by Dan Phillips)

"Churches do not give a married minister two salaries, one for the husband and the other for the wife; but, in many cases, they look for the services of the wife, whether they pay for them or not. The Pastor's wife is expected to know everything about the church, and in another sense she is to know nothing of it; and she is equally blamed by some people whether she knows everything or nothing. Her duties consist in being always at home to attend to her husband and her family, and being always out, visiting other people, and doing all sorts of things for the whole church! Well, of course, that is impossible; she cannot be at everybody's beck and call, and she cannot expect to please everybody. Her husband cannot do that, and I think he is very foolish if he tries to do it; and I am certain that, as the husband cannot please everybody, neither can the wife. There will be sure to be somebody or other who will be displeased, especially if that somebody had herself half hoped to be the minister's wife! Difficulties arise continually, in the best-regulated churches; and the position of the minister's wife is always a very trying one. Still, I think, that if I was a Christian young woman, I would marry a Christian minister if I could, because there is an opportunity of doing so much good in helping him in his service for Christ."


Continue reading this post.

Clarifying Calvinism (Part 2)

(By Phil Johnson)

Part II: Spurgeon: “Calvinism IS the Gospel” There are, these days, quite a few self-styled Calvinists who disagree with my assessment of Arminianism and insist that Arminianism entails an absolute denial of certain fundamental gospel truths. Those wishing to make that argument will invariably quote a famous statement by Spurgeon, taken from the chapter in his autobiography titled “A Defence of Calvinism” in which Spurgeon said this:
I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.

Continue reading this post.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Buggin' Out Over Bugs




(by: me)

Just this past weekend I found myself faced with a task that felt slightly overwhelming. One of my furry "children"...my boxer, Brutus, brought fleas into the house. I don't know about you but a flea infestation is not my idea of a good time. Immediately I went out and bought flea & tick spray for all three of my dogs, Hydrocortisone spray and a children's Antihistamine for our Pug, Sydney, because of his allergies, and mothballs to use for vacuuming up the nasty, little buggers...the fleas, not the dogs.

Sure enough Sydney had what looked like mosquito bites all over his sides which caused him rub up against everything in an effort to relieve the itching and to whine loudly. The Hydrocortisone spray and Antihistamine seem to help. Brutus was our flea bag culprit. Everywhere he went, so did the fleas! Saturday night all three dogs were doused with the flea and tick spray before bedtime. Brutus received an extra good dose. Sunday after church, each dog was scrubbed until every flea and speck of dirt fell off of their bodies. Sydney received another shower of Hydrocortisone spray and each of the dogs' sleeping areas around the house were misted down with the flea and tick spray. Finally I placed the mothballs in our vacuum cleaner and had at it over the carpeted areas of the house. Of course this took a little longer than usual as I had to use the small brush attachment (meant for the furniture) because a belt had broken and I could not find a replacement at the store.

By Sunday evening our home was flea free! Phew. In my opinion, the only thing worse than fleas is ticks. The only thing worse than ticks is scorpions. And the only thing worse than all of the above is lice!!! Which reminds me...here's a cute sight I came across today regarding lice and all issues surrounding that topic which makes you scratch your head the moment you think about it. So, for all you that feel the way I do about lice...click here!

© 2009 B.T.P.

Welcome Back "Pulpit"

"Pulpit Magazine" is back up and running. And though they do not have the new site quite ready they have decided to go ahead with posting new material. Yeah!!! Welcome back "Pulpit"!


Clarifying Calvinism (Part 1)

(By Phil Johnson)
This post is adapted from a transcript of a seminar from a recent Shepherds’ Conference, titled “Closet Calvinists.”

Part I: Is Arminianism damnable heresy?


I love the doctrines of grace and don’t shy away from the label “Calvinist.” I believe in the sovereignty of God. I’m convinced Scripture teaches that God is completely sovereign not only in salvation (effectually calling and granting faith to those whom He chooses); but also in every detail of the outworking of Providence. “Whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30). And He makes “all things work together for good to those who love God, [i.e.,] to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Quite simply, He “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).

Continue reading this article.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Half of an Inch Off


(by: me)

“In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.” (Isaiah 3:18-23. ESV.)

It is interesting to me how half of an inch can determine so much at times. In basketball a half inch can win the game. If the player’s throw is slightly off it could cause devastation for his or her team. A half inch in football can make or break a field goal. The kicker is expected to have unwavering precision. (Especially if he is the kicker for the Gators!)

A few years ago I reconnected with an old friend of mine. She and I had been classmates in Kindergarten and first grade. When she asked how tall I am I proudly stated, “5’5 and a half.” To which she responded, “I love it. Short people always add the ‘and a half’.” But my half of an inch was used by God to determine the course of my life.

In 1996 (or 1997) I auditioned for the glamorous New York City Rockettes. For those of you who are familiar with the Rockettes and know my height and build, you know where this is heading. Before I even got to go into the classroom, learn choreography, and perform it for the judges…I had to be measured!!! “Sorry,” the lady said to me, “You’re half an inch too short.” “But can’t I still audition anyway,” I protested. “Knock yourself out but they’re not going to hire you. You’re too short.” To my bewilderment at the time, she was right.

After a short bout with self pity I moved on and auditioned for another job. The knowledge of this gig more or less fell into my lap and my friends and coworkers persuaded me to try out. This one was an overseas tour with a well known entertainment company. The odds were not in my favor as I had auditioned for other shows through them however I went and gave it my best shot anyway. I was not their first choice and the decision was not unanimous however, weeks after the lengthy (yet not agonizing) audition I was surprised and moderately overwhelmed to receive the call that I had gotten the job.

I was sent to California for two weeks to learn the show then flown to Asia for nine months to work. The first five months consisted of five shows a day, six days a week. The last four months were significantly easier at only three or four shows a day, five days a week. Four months after I arrived in Asia I met the man who was going to be my husband of nine years and running! Who knew? I most certainly did not know however God had it sorted out the entire way!

So, though at times I find myself discontent with my size, hair color, eye color, or overall looks in general, I am reminded that God knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-14.) And, God uses all things as His servants (Psalm 119:91.)…even my physical appearance.

“…but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Pet 3:4. ESV.)

© 2009 B.T.P.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Amazing Love

This song by Bebo Norman is so beautiful. I looked for the video to post here but all I could find is this puppet presentation to the song. But, at least you'll be able to listen the song!!! It is nothing short of...amazing!!! (Lyrics are below incase you would rather read them than watch the video.)



MY LORD, WHAT LOVE IS THIS
THAT PAYS SO DEARLY
THAT I, THE GUILTY ONE
MAY GO FREE!

AMAZING LOVE, WHAT SACRIFICE
THE SON OF GOD GIVEN FOR ME
MY DEBT HE PAYS, AND MY DEATH HE DIES
THAT I MIGHT LIVE, THAT I MIGHT LIVE

AND SO THEY WATCHED HIM DIE
DESPISED, REJECTED
BUT OH, THE BLOOD HE SHED
FLOWED FOR ME

AND NOW, THIS LOVE OF CHRIST
SHALL FLOW LIKE RIVERS
SO COME WASH YOU GUILT AWAY
LIVE AGAIN!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rolling the Dice

(by: me)

“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:33. ESV.)

I love this piece of scripture. It is a great reminder to me that even the roll of the dice (casting of lots) is all in God’s hands. The scary, intimidating, worrisome unknown of my life gently rests in the palm of an all knowing, loving, merciful, all powerful God!!! Phew, and I thought I had something about which to be anxious.

This year I find myself in the running for sweepstakes. No one wins those silly things, right? It never seems like it…at least I have not seen a single winning from one. I was, however, recently reminded of a couple who did win and won BIG!!! They were up for an extraordinary prize that totaled millions of dollars. But what were the odds? Maybe 1 in 500,000,000?

On the day of Superbowl Sunday, this husband and wife watched the game as usual and did their ordinary routine. They got up, got dressed, ate breakfast, you get the idea. A call came in during the game. The voice on the other end of line wanted to know if someone was going to be home during halftime to participate in a phone survey. “Sure,” they replied. When halftime rolled around so did a knock at the front door. To their surprise they had won a big name sweepstakes and a camera crew was there with cameras rolling to get their reaction. They were presented with a giant check, champagne, balloons, flowers, the works. Who would have guessed it but God had this money delegated to them? When asked what they did to win they said, “We just followed the instructions each time they sent us something.” You know the type, “Place a sticker here and a stamp there then send this back to us.”

It is an example like this that makes me wonder how anyone could question God’s sovereignty. A couple rolled the dice and won. They had no control over the outcome and therefore could not take credit for it yet they were able to reap the benefits. God’s ways are perfect. His timing is flawless. Best of all, everything is for His glory and our good. He gets the recognition and we get the joy! I am not going to sniff about that! Instead I say, “Bring it on! Thanks!!!” Thank you sovereign Father!

“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13. ESV.)

© 2009 B.T.P.

The Boldness of Love

(by John Piper)

Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) to Pope Innocent II:
“Boldly I speak, because faithfully I love”
(Portrait of Calvin, 116).

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org.

Biblical Productivity

(by Tony Reinke)
"One solitary blog post on procrastination. That was the extent of what C.J. intended to write. But not long after spreading out the contents of his 'time management' file folder over his desk, useful old resources surfaced, old themes returned, and new ideas emerged. A series was born."

Continue reading.

That We May Grow

(by Nicole Whitacre)

Prayer.

Preaching the gospel to our souls.

Reading.

Rising early.

These are our simple goals for growth.

Yet we cannot fulfill any resolution apart from the grace of our Triune God.

Continue reading.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Calling God First

(by: me)

My cell phone (or any phone for that matter) used to be a huge idol for me. Whenever I was frustrated, sad, overjoyed, concerned, perplexed, etc. I would pick up the phone and call a loved one for back up. “I’m so irritated right now…just talk to me…say anything!” I would speak into the phone at the poor soul on the other end.

As I became more aware of God and His involvement and position in everything (both big and small) I began calling my loved ones less and calling on God more. At first it was difficult. God, though all powerful and all knowing is also unseen. My loved ones on the other hand who are facing the unknown just as I am are at my finger tips. I suppose God almost seemed inaccessible…as ridiculous as that sounds!

Each time I got the urge to pick up the phone and dial a family member or friend I started praying. Stumbling through it at first and then slowly, over time becoming more comfortable. God knows my heart anyway so even though the words do not just roll off my tongue He is still familiar with what I mean and from where I am coming. Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (ESV.) What a beautiful, loving, merciful God who gave us the Holy Spirit to act as our interpreter, our voice when we come before Him in prayer.

I would like to be more disciplined in prayer. Currently, whenever I receive a prayer request I stop and take it before God that moment. I do not want to forget to do it later. However I feel I should have a prayer journal or even better a photo prayer journal! Not only would this fabulous idea be great for me but also for the children in my home!!! What a magnificent, hands on way to get them engaged in praying for their loved ones. The younger children can help me with one and we can take time together each day to pray and the older kids can each make their own.

John Piper reminds me,
“Even our prayers are a gift from the one who ‘works in us that which is pleasing in his sight’ (Hebrews 13:21). Oh, how grateful we should be that He has chosen us to be employed in this high service! How eager we should be to spend much time in prayer!”


© 2009 B.T.P.

Tackling Free Will

Wrestling with free will? John Piper offers the following scripture to assist with the struggle:
Genesis 50:20: Joseph says to his brothers who had sold him into slavery, "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."

Deuteronomy 29:2-4: Moses says to the Israelites before they enter the promised land, "You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes . . . those great signs and wonders. Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear." (cf. Romans 11:32; Deuteronomy 5:29).

Proverbs 16:4: "The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil." (cf. 1 Peter 2:8; Jude 4; Romans 9:22)

Proverbs 16:9: "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."

Proverbs 16:33: "The lot is cast in the lap, but every decision is from the Lord."

Proverbs 19:21: "Many are the plans of a man's heart but the counsel of the Lord, it will stand."

Proverbs 21:1: "The King's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he wishes."

Isaiah 63:17: "Why, O Lord, dost thou cause us to stray from thy ways, and harden our heart from fearing thee? Return for the sake of thy servants, the tribes of thy heritage."

Jeremiah 10:23: "I know, O Lord, that a man's way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps."

Jeremiah 32:40: In the promise of the new covenant God says, "I will put the fear of me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from me" (cf. Ezekiel 36:27; Jeremiah 52:1-3).

Lamentations 3:37f: "Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?" (cf. Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6).

Philippians 2:12, 13: "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for his good pleasure."

2 Timothy 2:24-26: "The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome but . . . able to teach . . . with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will."

Hebrews 13:20, 21: "Now the God of peace . . . equip you in every good thing to do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 17:17: Of the ten kings who wage war against the harlot (Babylon) it is said, "They will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put it in their hearts to execute his purpose . . ."

Read this entire article.

© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org.

The Greatest Hindrance to the Gospel Today

(by Tim Challies)

"Some time ago I mentioned that I had been asked by a magazine to submit an answer to this question: 'What is the greatest hindrance to the gospel today?' Since the magazine has now been published, I can print the answer at my site. So here goes…

You know the oft-told story, I am sure. G.K. Chesterton, along with other prominent authors of his day, was asked by The Times to answer this question: 'What’s Wrong with the World?' His answer was beautiful in its simplicity and brilliant in its profundity.

Dear Sirs,

I am.

Sincerely yours,

G. K. Chesterton


As I ponder the greatest hindrances to the gospel today, I can’t help but feel that Chesteron’s words are applicable to this question, too. And yet, at the same time, I feel as if they are wrong; dead wrong."


Continue reading this post.

Gators Win 2009 BCS National Championship Game



Click here to watch :Tebow on Victory over Sooners" video.

Congratulations Tebow and the FL Gators!!!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

God’s Glory in All Things

(by: me)

“The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9. ESV.)

Our plan for the week after Christmas was to drive (10 hours) to Washington to visit with loved ones. In and of itself this seemed a perfectly mundane task in which surly God would not be glorified…I mean how would He? But even in the small things God is the center of it all and establishes each step we take whether it is the dull, everyday, humdrum or an unusual, intense event. Isaiah 48:11 says, “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.” (cross references: Isaiah 43:25, Isaiah 42:8.)

The weather was rainy and overcast the days leading up to when we were going to make the drive but as God would have it, our day of travel was clear and comfortable. One king cab truck, six seatbelts, two adults, four children, and three dogs later we were confidently on our way. Three people and one pug sat in the front seat while three individuals, one boston terrier, and a boxer occupied the backseat. All was well while two listened to I-pods and two others watched five movies nonstop. Traffic was light and the route through the mountain passes was stress free. I had never seen the mountains so covered by a thick blanket of snow before. Even remnants of snow fall lay plowed along the freeway.

The nice weather did not last long. Snow and rain fell each day of our visit to Washington which made for a cold time but the six children ate up every moment of playing in the snow. We even woke one morning to find a new layer of soft white that crunched under our shoes. I took special care to keep a wood burning stove stocked with wood and ablaze with a sensational heat producing fire. In an environment composed of mostly unbelievers, God’s glory showed the brightest in the actions of those who love Him without question or hesitation. Prayerfully a reflection of Christ could be seen by all.

When it came time to leave, hearts were heavy but faithfully God had once again provided good weather for our journey home. Though these 10 hours seemed shorter than the first, it was laced with opportunity for the ugliness in my heart to come rushing forth under the squeeze of pressure. First, a semi truck veered into our lane forcing our driver to slam on the brakes in an effort to avoid a collision. While the two lane mountain pass was narrow, it was (thankfully) ice free and I felt peace as a hedge of protection had been placed between us and the truck. Not too long after that our boston terrier defecated in the vehicle and on my purse! I am embarrassed to say God was definitely not glorified in my attitude and behavior in response to this. After a quick stop for gas, food, and the restroom the boston terrier was sent to the front seat and the pug came to sit harmoniously in the back seat.

Although these trips are trying at times (nonetheless still enjoyable for the most part), I am prayerful they make wonderful memories for the children in our household and that one day they will look back and see how God was at work in all His beauty and sovereignty. His ways are not my ways…they are perfect and in stark contrast to mine! He knows better than I do and I completely trust the unknown to an all knowing God!

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36. ESV.)

© 2009 B.T.P.

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