Archive for February, 2010
I’ve been waiting for this since…well since this time last year. While most Americans are familiar with the super thin, aerobic monsters of the Tour de France, not many are aware of the heavier brutes who race across the worst roads in Europe in the absolute worst weather conditions. These are the hard men of the “Cobbled Classics,” so called because they race across cobblestones as well as paved roads. These races are one day, very fast, loaded with crashes, and very dramatic. The first of the cobbled classics begins this weekend with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (formerly known as Omloop Het Volk) on Saturday and the Kurne Brussels Kurne on Sunday. You can watch these live and for free on http://www.cycling.tv. Time to crack open a Belgian ale and holler at the T.V. screen!!!
Tags: Joel Virgo, prayer
courtesy of TheResurgence
“And I said, ‘O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments…’” (Nehemiah 1:5).
Get Your Eyes Off Yourself
Some teaching on prayer suggests that we begin by confession of our sins to get it all out of the way. It is striking that Jesus’ teaching on prayer does the reverse: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matt. 6:9). He gets to confession of sin pretty late in the prayer. He would be frowned upon by some, but Jesus is right (oddly).
Jesus knows our frame. He knows we generally don’t need to see our sin as the first item on the agenda at every meeting with God. Better in fact to get our eyes altogether off of ourselves. That way we gain perspective and hope. D. Kidner says, “There is more than [flowery language] in this… opening. It deliberately postpones the cry for help, which could otherwise be faithless and self-pitying. It mounts immediately to heaven, where the perspective will be right, and it reflects on the character of God—not only for its loyalty and love, but first of all for the majesty which puts man, whether friend or foe, in his place.”
The great prayers of Scripture resound with this heavenly perspective. I love the way Peter and John (with their backs bleeding and the threat of execution over their heads) pray with the others, saying “Sovereign God… Now Lord…” (Acts 4). Start with God and his mission. Look to him. That way you get know him better too, and “the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action” (Dan. 11:32). Practically this means we shouldn’t complain too much if prayer meetings are occasionally overrun with worship! It also means that, like Nehemiah, we should plead our relationship.
Pray According To Scripture
Nehemiah prays, “Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your dispersed be under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there’” (Neh. 1:8-9). Nehemiah knows his God and knows the story his God is telling. He knows the way it should be going and the plan God has in getting it there. He knows about Israel’s heritage, Israel’s astounding calling, and Zion’s destiny as God’s great city—and this makes him persistent.
I picked up what is the last of the famous Cervelo P3 aluminum time trial framesets recently while on a trip to Charlotte. The frame originally sold for around $3000 but I picked it up for $300. I’ve been acquiring parts over the past few months and recently finished it with the help of my son, who is doing some work on his own bike courtesy of a tool set his grand dad got him for Christmas. He even got to tighten some bolts on the real bike and cut one or two cables. In the picture below I’m just about to take a hack saw to the fork to finish off the bike. I’ve ridden it once so far. All I’ve got to say is whoah…pretty fast rig.
Thanks to Usama for passing this along
“You must be born again.”
Do not think Christians are made by education; they are made by creation. You may wash a corpse as long as you please, and that corpse could be clean, but you cannot wash life into it!
You may deck it in flowers, and robe it in scarlet and fine linen, but you cannot make it live! The vital spark must come from above! Regeneration is not of the will of man, nor of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but by the power and energy of the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God alone!
See then, the ruin of nature and the freeness of grace! Void and dark, a chaos given up to be covered withnblackness and darkness forever, and, while as yet it is unseeking God, the light arises, and the promise is fulfilled, “I am found of them that sought me not; I said, behold me! behold me! to a people that were not a people.”
While we were lying in our blood, filthily polluted, defiled, he passed by, and he said in the sovereignty of his love, “Live!” and we do live. The whole must be traced to sovereign grace! From this sacred well of discriminating distinguishing grace we must draw water this morning, and we must pour it out, saying, “Oh Lord, I will praise your name, for the first origin of my light was your sovereign purpose, and nothing in me.”
Excerpt from Spurgeon’s sermon,”Light, Natural and Spiritual” No. 660.
Tags: Commentary on Genesis, martin luther
Luther is commenting here on the fear of Abram in Gen 15.1. Notice Luther’s description of God withdrawing himself and what it is meant to accomplish. First, when God withdraws himself it is because of His grace, not in spite of. After all, grace is “truly immovalbe and unchangeable.” But rather, God will from time to time withdraw himself to humble his people and protect them from grievous sins and at the proper time restore their spirits with a word of comfort. The pastoral applications of this are immense. Here are some questions to help you tease this out for yourself. What role does spiritual depression play in formation? When I feel God’s absence, could there be a good and loving reason behind his absence? How does being humbled by God help us to rely on his promises and love Him more?
It is no small comfort, however, to know that grace has not been taken away but is truly immovable and unchangeable, although the awareness and experience of grace is taken away for a time, and dread and fear rush in, discouraging and troubling the spirit. The man becomes impatient, concludes that he cannot bear the wrath of God, and simply makes a devil out of God.
Christ experienced this trial in the garden (Matt 26.41), where nature was wrestling with the spirit, and the spirit indeed was willing but the flesh was weak, terrified, fearful, and troubled. No one is truly sorrowful unless God forsakes him, just as, conversely, no one can be sorrowful when God is present. Therefore sorrow is an indication that God has departed from us and has forsaken us for a time…
When on the other hand, as is written in the Book of Wisdom (3.7), God shines into our hearts with rays of mercy, then it is impossible for our hearts not to be glad, even though we, like Stephen, are being dragged to torture and death.
Therefore it is profitable to consider these examples, namely, that the saints who are bold in the Holy Spirit are bolder than Satan himself. On the other hand, when they are in the clutches of trial, they tremble so much that they are afraid even of a rustling leaf. We are reminded of our weakness in order that no matter how great the gifts are that we possess, we may not exalt ourselves but may remain humble and fear God. From those who do not do this He turns His face away, and trouble and perplexity follow.
I want to preface these remarks to this chapter, in which we learn about what Ps. 4.3 says: “know that God has dealt marvelously with the godly,” that is, that He keeps those who are His occupied in various ways, lest they become heretics, be presumptuous with regard to their gifts, and be puffed up over against those who do not have these gifts. For those who do this are very close to destruction.
Therefore those who are chosen as teachers of the churches to rule over others should offer special prayers that they be preserved from this affliction as from the greatest and most dangerous evil.
Other sins- such as wrathfulness, impatience, and drunkenness- naturally bring shame because of their foulness. Those who indulge in them know that they have sinned. Consequently, they blush. But vainglory and trust in one’s own wisdom or righteousness is a sin of such a kind that it is not recognized as sin. Instead, men thank God for it, as the Pharisee does in the Gospel (Luke 18.9-14); they rejoice in it as in an extraordinary gift of the Holy Spirit. Therefore it is an utterly incurable devilish evil.
From this God preserves saintly Abraham by subjecting the glorious conqueror to such an affliction that it is necessary to comfort him with a divine word…
Luther, Comentary on Genesis vol. II (LW vol. 3 pg 8-9)