Archive for May, 2010

Who stands fast?

Posted: May 31, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, The Christian Life, Uncategorized

from D. Bonhoeffer’s “Ethics”

“Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is nor his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God–the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life answer to the question and call of God. Where are these responsible people?”

No man is saved by his own free-will, but every man is damned by it that is damned. He does it of his own will; no one constrains him. You know, sinner, that when you go away from here, and put down the cries of conscience, that you do it yourself. You know that, when after a sermon you say, “I do not care about believing in Christ,” you say it yourself—You are quite conscious of it, and if not conscious of it, it is notwithstanding a dreadful fact, that the reason why you are what you are, is because you will to be what you are. It is your own will that keeps you where you are, the blame lies at your own door, your being still in a state of sin is voluntary. You are a captive, but you are a voluntary captive. You will never be willing to get free until God makes you willing. But you are willing to be a bond slave. There is no disguising the fact, that man loves sin, loves evil, and does not love God. You know, though heaven is preached to you through the blood of Christ, and though hell is threatened to you as the result of your sins, that still you cleave to your iniquities; you will not leave them, and will not fly to Christ. And when you are cast away, at last it will be said of you, “you have lost your birthright.” But you sold it yourself. You know that the ball-room suits you better than the house of God: you know that the pot-house suits you better than the prayer-meeting; you know you trust yourself rather than trust Christ; you know you prefer the joys of the resent time to the joys of the future. It is your own choice—keep it Your damnation is your own election, not God’s; you richly deserve it.

C H Spurgeon “Jacob and Esau”

You Raise Me Up

Posted: May 29, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, Uncategorized

Wholehearted Trust

Posted: May 29, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship

Got this from Ray Ortlund‘s blog see what you think

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

How can I tell if my trust in the Lord is wholehearted?  One way is this.  Do I let the Bible overrule my own thinking?  It says, “Do not lean on your own understanding.”  So, do I agree with the Bible, or do I obey the Bible?  My dog sometimes agrees with me, but she never obeys me.  If I merely agree with the Bible, then my positive response to it is not obedience but coincidence.  The Bible just happens to line up with the prejudices I’ve soaked up from my culture.  But what do I do when the Bible contradicts what I want to be true?  If I’m looking in the Bible for excuses for what I want anyway, my heart has already drifted from the Lord.  But if I trust him wholeheartedly, I will let the Bible challenge my most cherished thoughts and feelings.

The wonderful thing is, the Lord loves to be consulted.  He cares about my questions and problems, and yours.  He wants to speak into our lives in ways that really help.  Okay.

God’s will…mmm someday

Posted: May 28, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, Uncategorized

It’s easy to use the phrase “God’s will for my life” as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. It’s much less demanding to think about God’s will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes. It’s safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day.

Francis Chan “Forgotten God” pg 120

by DA Carson, This a post from: For the Love of God

The symbolism is transparent. God is perfectly willing and able to satisfy all our deepest needs and longings. Implicitly, the problem is that we will not even open our mouths to enjoy the food he provides. The symbolism returns in the last verse: while the wicked will face punishment that lasts forever, “you would be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I would satisfy you” (Ps. 81:16).

Of course, God is talking about more than physical food (though scarcely less). The setting is a common one both in the Psalms and in the narrative parts of the Pentateuch. God graciously and spectacularly rescued the people from their slavery in Egypt, responding to their own cries of distress. “I removed the burden from their shoulders,”God says. “In your distress you called and I rescued you” (Ps. 81:6-7). Then comes the passage that leads to the line quoted at the beginning of this meditation:

Hear, O my people, and I will warn you –
if you would but listen to me, O Israel!
You shall have no foreign god among you;
you shall not bow down to an alien god.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it (Ps. 81:8-10).

Historically, of course, the response of the people was disappointing: “my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me” (Ps. 81:11). In that case, they were not promised the satisfaction symbolized by full mouths. Far from it, God says, “So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices” (Ps. 81:12).

Of course, the nature of the idolatry changes from age to age. I recently read some lines from John Piper:

The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night. For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable (A Hunger for God, Wheaton: Crossway, 1997, 14).

“Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

This topic is of particular interest to me as more and more of the people at Trinity begin to pick up serious works of theology and report back the tremendous blessing that their theological studies have brought them.  In the words of one person, “Studying theology helps me know God better and I find the better I know him the more I love him.”

Everyone has warned me not to tell you what I am going to tell you in this last book. They all say `the ordinary reader does not want Theology; give him plain practical religion’. I have rejected their advice. I do not think the ordinary reader is such a fool. Theology means ‘the science of God,’ and I think any man who wants to think about God at all would like to have the clearest and most accurate ideas about Him which are available. You are not children: why should you be treated like children?

In a way I quite understand why some people are put off by Theology. I remember once when I had been giving a talk to the R.A.F., an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, `I’ve no use for all that stuff. But, mind you, I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt Him out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal !’

Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience of God in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think he really was turning from something real to something less real. In the same way, if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.

Now, Theology is like the map. Merely learning and thinking about the Christian doctrines, if you stop there, is less real and less exciting than the sort of thing my friend got in the desert. Doctrines are not God: they are only a kind of map. But that map is based on the experience of hundreds of people who really were in touch with God-experiences compared with which any thrills or pious feelings you and I are likely to get on our own are very elementary and very confused. And secondly, if you want to get any further, you must use the map. You see, what happened to that man in the desert may have been real, and was certainly exciting, but nothing comes of it. It leads nowhere. There is nothing to do about it. In fact, that is just why a vague religion-all about feeling God in nature, and so on-is so attractive. It is all thrills and no work; like watching the waves from the beach. But you will not get to Newfoundland by studying the Atlantic that way, and you will not get eternal life by simply feeling the presence of God in flowers or music. Neither will you get anywhere by looking at maps without going to sea. Nor will you be very safe if you go to sea without a map.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Macmillan 1977) pg 135-135

Fruit not root

Posted: May 27, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Spurgeon, Uncategorized

“You may be quite certain that if you love God it is a fruit, not a root.” – C.H. Spurgeon

this a post from: For the Love of God

By D A Carson

Numbers 12-13 reports two quite different and complex forms of rebellion. The first finds Aaron and Miriam bad-mouthing their brother Moses. The presenting problem is that because the Lord has spoken through them as well as through Moses, they feel they have the right to share whatever authority he enjoys. But other layers lie hidden: they are upset with Moses because of his marriage to a Cushite. Human motives are often convoluted. (more…)

Grace makes you Gracious

Posted: May 27, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christian Theology, Christianity, Uncategorized

“Grace binds you with far stronger cords than the cords of duty or obligation can bind you. Grace is free, but when once you take it, you are bound forever to the Giver and bound to catch the spirit of the Giver. Like produces like. Grace makes you gracious, the Giver makes you give.”

-E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973)

read this at Thabiti Anybwile’s blog today, here’s a bit then a link to read the whole thing.

O Lord my God, if I have done this
and there is guilt on my hands–
if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me
or without cause have robbed my foe–
then let my enemy pursue and overtake me;
let him trample my life to the ground
and make me sleep in the dust.
Selah (Psalm 7:3-5)

Who prays like that?  Who sings songs about being judged for their guilt if they have been unrighteous in their dealings with others?

In the context, David appeals to God for protection against his enemies (vv. 1-2).  The opening title tells us that David sang the psalm to the Lord “concerning Cush, a Benjamite.”  David thought he would be torn to pieces unless the Lord delivered him.

Now, when I’m feeling embattled, my thoughts don’t turn to my own righteousness, much less do I appeal to God to judge me if I’m wrong.  How about you?  I’m more concerned to bolster support for my cause.  I don’t tend to remember the righteousness of God’s cause.  How about you?

read it all here at Thabiti’s Blog

Grace to Do Work

Posted: May 25, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Uncategorized

“For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.”

– Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Most Popular Bible and Koran verses

Posted: May 25, 2010 by limabean03 in Uncategorized

Found this great article linked through over at Steve’s blog.  Apparently new Kindle software allows you not only to mark your own highlights, but to view the popular highlights of others.  Linked below are the most popular highlights from the Bible as well as the Koran.  When you read the highlights from the Koran, pay particular attention to the way the Koran speaks about Jesus.  Where could Christians and Muslims agree about Jesus?  Where might Christians and Muslims disagree about Jesus? 

Check out the Bible highlights here

Check out the Koran highlights here

See how many you can get right.  Be sure to click through the bottom to check your answers.  One reason I like these questions is they are not just dependent on you memorizing a few verses or knowing a few famous episodes, but rather they are dependent upon you knowing to some extent the breadth of Scripture.  See how you do…

1. What lesson from the life of Jonah did Jesus talk about?
(a) Jonah learned to obey God, because disobedience is punished.
(b) God forgives the repentant as he forgave Nineveh.
(c) God rescues us as he rescued Jonah when he was cast overboard.
(d) Jonah spent three days in the fish as Jesus would spend three days in the tomb.
(e) People are as wicked today as they were in ancient Nineveh.

2. Melchizedek, king of Salem, met with which biblical figure? How is Jesus like Melchizedek?

3. Besides Jesus, name five biblical figures who rose from the dead.How were these incidents different from Jesus’ resurrection?

4. Name four biblical instances where the number 40 is important.

5. Whose faithfulness is contrasted with the Israelites’ grumbling in Exodus 16-18?

6. Name the four women besides Mary who are included in Jesus’ genealogy (Matt. 1:1-17), and describe their circumstances.

7. “No prophet is accepted in his hometown,” Jesus said after his inaugural sermon (Luke 4:14-30). He then gave examples from the lives of two other prophets. What were they?

click here to see how you did

Put all of your trust in Jesus

Posted: May 24, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Uncategorized

“When the missionary John Paton arrived in New Hebrides in the mid 1800’s, he began translation on the New Testament. First, he had to reduce their language to writing. He worked with his young helper to come up with the vocabulary. He did not know how to illustrate the word believe. Finally, when he leaned completely back in his chair in such a way that his whole weight was on it, the concept of trust emerged. John 3:16 now reads in their Bible, ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever throws his whole weight on Him, will not perish but have eternal life.'”

From Ravi Zacharias’ book “ Jesus Among Other Gods” pg 183