Archive for the ‘ Christianity ’ Category

A Christian can defeat himself in two ways

A Christian can defeat himself in two ways: one is to forget the holiness of God and the fact that sin is sin. The Bible calls us to an ever deeper commitment in giving ourselves to Christ for him to produce his fruit through us.

The other is to allow himself to be worn out by Christians who turn Christianity into a romanticism. The realism of the Bible is that God does not excuse sin, but neither is he finished with us when he finds sin in us. And for this we should be thankful.

– Francis Schaeffer, No Little People (HT:WAX)

I find that I am at times troubled and defeated by both. The First is easier to see in retrospect when I go back and look at my heart and my actions and why I fell for the sin in question. The second is much harder to detect. Lord guard us against them both!

Jesus Paid Taxes

Here is a very helpful message on the christian and government for you all by Mark Dever. Great stuff to consider heading into the election next Tuesday. Click here to listen.

Three Thoughts on the Election

I hadn’t plan on writing on the election. I’ve tried to keep out of it but I can’t anymore. I just see so much wrongheadedness taking place that I can’t help but offer some parting shots for your consideration. I start today with a longer quote from Doug Wilson, who is offering three points to consider as you head into the voting booth:

1. C.S. Lewis said there were two basic approaches to democracy. One is idolatrous, and the other reflects a more biblical view of man. The first is the assumption that every last man’s opinion is so valuable that we should do our level best to get his input before we do anything. This is the idolatrous option. The other acknowledges the sinfulness of man, such that it is unwise to concentrate too much power in any one spot. Democracy is, in this view, part of a system of checks and balances, where the power is spread as thinly as possible in order to keep an entrenched ruling class from having its unbridled way. If that were a design feature, then this next election would appear to be a successful example of the design working. But the thing to keep in mind is that corrective elections, even corrective wave elections, are not solution elections. “Throw the bums out” may often be just what’s demanded, the need of the moment, and no argument there. Who could not but agree that a Pelosiless hour of evening news would be a real spot of sunshine in an otherwise drab and dreary chain of news stories? But what then? What do we do next? For those who are regular visitors to this space, our very next political move needs to be calling on Jesus. The reason we need to throw the bums out first is that they get in the way of calling on Jesus, and repentance precedes faith.

I can not agree more with what wilson says; “corrective elections, even corrective wave elections, are not solution elections.” I have for some time been of the view that there is a basic misunderstanding of the issues by BOTH parties. While I want the dems out of power, I am not holding my breath any real changes to take place when the tea party heads to D.C.

2. There are significant earthly consequences to what we do, and in how we vote, but we have to be shrewd in understanding what those consequences are. If I owe you a thousand bucks, you’ve got me. The borrower becomes the lender’s slave. But there is a point at which that reality breaks down. If I owe you a bazillion bucks, I’ve got you. There actually is a point where the lender becomes the borrower’s slave. And this is why we should all agree with the bumper sticker, “Please, nobody tell Obama what comes after a trillion.”

This election is therefore something of an intervention. The powers that be, the lenders, the bankers, the regulators, the congressmen, the smartest guys in the room, are all of them out of control. They are selling themselves into slavery. Back in the old days, when the people were borrowing a thousand bucks, the lenders were able to maintain their position of control. But now, when they have lent half the assets of America to all the winos in America, and those winos have peed it all away, a moment arises when the responsible adults in the room look at each other, nod, and say, “It’s time.” But these guys don’t want to go to rehab any more than did Amy Winehouse, no, no, no, but always keep in mind the fact that drying out in rehab, however salutary in itself, is not the same thing as fixing the problem. In this case, going into the voting booth, and voting for “It’s time,” sends both the wino and the guy giving him cash to a place where they have to stop it. One guy goes to wino rehab and the other one to banker rehab. In both cases, it is just to clear the head so that they can figure out they need to call on Jesus.

AMEN!!!!

3. The late Sen. Eugene McCarthy said that being a senator was a lot like being a football coach — you had to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it was important. This leads naturally to the reflection by Augustine in The City of God, when he said that in the kingdoms of men, the dead are replaced by the dying. In short, the story that God is telling with His sprawling narrative of a world is not the same story that many of His characters are trying to tell. It is the responsibility of sane Christians to try to line up the story they are telling themselves about their lives with the story that God is telling about their lives. Does this seem cryptic? Bring it down to the voting booth. When I go in there, what am I trying to accomplish? Ultimately, I am working out my salvation with fear and trembling, the same thing I am trying to do when I fry an egg, or type a phrase, or drive down the road to an appointment. I am not trying to save America, unless saving America is a proximate means to the larger end of glorifying God through the salvation of His people through the gospel. This is not quietism; this is not activism. This is perspective. No matter what happens in the election, God is on His throne, and we should still be in the process of gathering before it.

I hope this helps stir the pot a little.

Piper on the Gospel and Social Justice

Continuing with our theme this week. Piper adds his 2 cents.

Some Thoughts on What the Gospel is and is Not

I came across this great quote in a larger interview with Carson in regard to How Do We Work for Justice and Not Undermine Evangelism?

To preach moral duty without the underlying power of the gospel is moralism that is both pathetic and powerless; to preach a watered-down gospel as that which tips us into the kingdom, to be followed by discipleship and deeds of mercy, is an anemic shadow of the robust gospel of the Bible; to preach the gospel and social justice as equivalent demands is to misunderstand how the Bible hangs together.-D.A. Carson

Reading 10 chapters of the bible a day

plan

Yesterday I started my new bible reading plan. It is the Horner plan. You read 10 chapters a day, with the readings coming form 10 different books of the bible. I have thus far enjoyed it ton! I chose to change what and how I was reading in the word because I saw my heart growing unimpressed with God in my bible reading. So I figured I should overwhelm my heart with God in his word.

In football terms, I’m loading the box. No quarterback can get a play off with ten men in the box. The pass is going nowhere. You might get the ball to the running back, but its a tackle for a loss; you aren’t getting out of the back field.

And this is what I want to do with my heart; I’m dialing up a blitz every morning.  I can’t escape God when I’m reading about him in this many places.

I walked away from my bible reading today amazed with who God was.

As a result I want to tell you more about the plan:

Horner writes of the plan,

On day one, you read Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, and so forth. On day 2, read Matthew 2, Genesis 2, etc. On day 29, you will have just finished Matthew, so go to Mark 1 on the Gospel list; you’ll also be almost to the end of 2nd Corinthians and Proverbs, you’ll be reading Psalm 29 and Genesis 29, and so forth. When you reach the last chapter of the last book in a list – start over again. Rotate all the way through all the Scriptures constantly.

Since the lists vary in length, the readings begin interweaving in constantly changing ways. You will NEVER read the same set of ten chapters together again! Every year you’ll read through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the OT wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the OT History and Prophetic books about 1 12 times. Since the interweaving is constantly changing, you will experience the Bible commenting on itself in constantly changing ways — the Reformer’s principle of ‘scriptura interpretans scripturam’ — ‘scripture interpreting scripture’ IN ACTION!

That last line is one of the elements other than the before mentioned heart blitz. I want to have the scripture interpreting itself in my reading plan. part of why i don’t like the M’CHEYNE plan is that I read the same four chapters at the same time every year. I’m all for reading the bible in a year but after doing that plan a few times i like that this one has me in a different set of readings after the first go round.  With the lists you are finishing and starting over at different points in time. take a look:

THE TEN LISTS:
List 1 (89 days)
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

List 2 (187 days)
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

List 3 (78 days)
Romans, I&II Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, Hebrews

List 4 (65 days)
I&II Thess, I&II Tim, Titus, Philemon, James, I&II Peter, I,II&III John, Jude, Revelation

List 5 (62 days)
Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon

List 6 (150 days)
Psalms

List 7 (31 days)
Proverbs

List 8 (249 days)
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I&II Samuel, I&II Kings, I&II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

List 9 (250 days)
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

List 10 (28 days)
Acts

I know some of you worry about how fast you read. Again, Horner says,

After you’ve read any particular book once or twice, your speed in that book usually doubles or triples because you’re familiar with it and can move quickly and confidently — because you are no longer merely decoding the text but thinking it through in the context of all of the scripture!

Even an ‘average’ reader, if focusing on moving through the text, rather than trying to figure everything out, can usually do this in about an hour a day – 5-6 minutes per chapter. Many people report moving confidently through the ten chapters in 35-40 minutes. If it is taking you longer, then you are ‘reading wrong’ – stay relaxed, focus, and just keep it moving. Moderate but consistent speed is the key. This is “gross anatomy” — looking at the whole body; you’re not closely studying organs or systems or tissues or cells — it is not microbiology. BUT — microbiology and the study or organs makes more sense when you know what the whole structure of the human body is like, and how all the parts, large and small, relate in perfect interdependence.

After just a few days the reading gets much easier; in a month it will be a habit, and in six months you’ll wonder how you ever survived before on such a slim diet of the WORD.

My hope is that I will look back in six months and wonder how I did four chapters a day before.

One Tip I do recommend following is this one:

get ONE Bible, keep it, and do all your reading in it, so you learn where everything is. I’ve had the same Bible since 1983 and I know it intimately. If you keep switching Bibles, you ‘lose’ this intimacy with the text. Find a translation and format you like and stick with it. THIS IS CRUCIAL.

I agree with this one. I tried this plan once before and did not take this advice and it died out after a few days.  I selected a bible that I would want to read for the rest of my life. In my case it was an ESV Single Column Reference Bible, Brown/Cordovan, TruTone, Portfolio design.

I selected it for the following reasons:

One more thing about having one bible you do the reading in. Leave it at home. I don’t plan on my daily reading bible to be used for anything other than the Horner plan. It will stay on the coffee table. I have a few other bibles i use outside the house.

Another Tip I recommend:

Keep a journal and write down one phrase about what you read for each section. Today I read psalm 1 and I wrote, “Lord make me the blessed man.” simple and short. I am not with my journal now and I could recall it. and that is the whole point. The act of writing one short easy to remember phrase for each section of the reading down is that you can recall what you read later.

 

Lastly I leave you with this link for a downloadable description of the plan and printable bookmarks (get them laminated).

Click here to download the plan.

America’s four gods

New Research is out that we have Four ideas about who or what god is. They are:

The Authoritative God

The Benevolent God

The Critical God

The Distant God

To read more about the study click here

I am a fan of none of this gods, I perfer the real God, the God of the bible.

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