Monday, August 31, 2009

Trust God's Interpretation

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:7-8 ESV

Interpreting Experiences

…as a person made in the image of God you do not live life based on the cold, objective facts of your experience, but on your interpretation of your experience…your interpretations will begin to form into a worldview that will function as an organizing structure not only for what you think, but also for how you live.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 80.

Friday, August 28, 2009

On High Forever

The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever; but you, O LORD, are on high forever.
Psalm 92:6-8 ESV

The Fool Thinks

No matter how much we know, no matter how wise we are, sin can reduce us all to fools. It is one of sin’s most destructive fruits. What is a fool? A fool is one who sees the world upside down and inside out. A fool looks at what is right and sees wrong, and at what is wrong and sees right. A fool looks at what is good and sees bad, and at what is bad and sees good. A fool looks at what is true and thinks it false, and looks at what is false and thinks it true. A fool looks at wisdom and sees foolishness, and looks at foolishness and sees wisdom. Sin does this to all of us. We think our way is better than God’s way, that our rules are better than God’s rules, and that what we desire is better than what God has promised.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 70.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Source of the Problem

For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:43-45 ESV

Real Change

In fact, you and I change no one. Ultimately, personal change comes from only one source: the gracious act of a powerful God. When people try to change one another, typically the focus is on behavior. Yet behavior is not really the issue. If a person’s words, actions, choices, decisions, reactions, or responses are other than what God would want them to be, then the root problem is not behavior, but the heart…The heart is the core of our personhood, and the source of behavioral causality. What a person says or does is shaped by the thoughts and desire of the heart (see Luke (6:43-45).
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 65.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Found Faithful

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
2 Tim. 4:7-8 ESV

Find Us Faithful

We're pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift though all we've left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Find Us Faithful, by Jon Mohr

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is Anyone In Control?

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Job 38:4-7 ESV

Is Anything Out of Control?

Another mark of our delusional self-centeredness is that, when we encounter an area that we cannot control, we tend to see it as out of control!...So in each of our lives there are moments when we feel like screaming, “Is anyone in charge here?” Actually, yes. God is.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 55, 56.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Working In Us

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV

Secret Wish

it’s the secret wish
of every soul struggling in the middle
of what he did not plan
and did not choose.

it is the silent cry
of each of us
as we are forced to deal
with someone
who is difficult to love.

we all think that
we’re wiser thane we really are
and more benevolent
than we would actually be.

we all forget that
sin has reduced us to fools
and shrunk our field of interest
to the size of our own needs.

that’s why all of us
secretly wish to be

Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 48.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Forgiveness Produces Overwhelming Love

Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little." And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Luke 7:44-50 ESV

Changed Forever

Why did this woman do this expensive and humbling thing? Why the ointment of her tears? Why her many kisses? There is only one plausible answer, the answer set forth in the passage: forgiveness. When you grasp how much you need it, and when, by God’s grace, you reach out and receive it, it changes you forever.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 44.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gladden the Soul

Incline your ear, O LORD,
and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer;
listen to my plea for grace.

Psalm 86:1-6 ESV

Without Putting You Down

Grace will make you acknowledge that you cannot earn God’s favor, and it will remove your fear of not measuring up to his standards. Grace will confront you with the fact that you are much less than you thought you were, even as it assures you that you can be far more than you had ever imagined. Grace will put you in your place without ever putting you down.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 42.

Monday, August 17, 2009

God Is Working

The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool."
Psalm 110:1 ESV

All Are Flawed

The history of your Bible drips with the blood of violence. It smells of the stench of human greed, betrayal, and perversion. It is stained with instance after instance of people doing their best to take his place. Apart from Christ, none of the people in these stories are moral heroes who always get it right. No, to a person they are flawed.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 29.

Friday, August 14, 2009

If There Is No Change, You're Still In Your Sins

Dear Pastor Lawyer,

What is the difference between Reformed Evangelism and non-Reformed evangelism?

Thanks, Betty

Dear Betty,

I guess I don't really know the difference between Reformed and non-Reformed evangelism. My views on it haven't changed much since becoming Reformed, but maybe I'm just ignorant too.
I do think most of the Church, especially American church, has it wrong when they talk about evangelism.

When I was in seminary, the goal in my evangelism class was to share the gospel with someone to the point where they were asked to make a choice between Jesus and Hell. If we got them to that point, we were free and could say, “Well at least they don’t have an excuse and I'm off the hook for having talked with them.” I didn't do very well in that class because I didn't believe that was what evangelism is about.

I believe there are very few Christians who are gifted in “cold turkey” evangelism. I’ve seen very little fruit from beach, door to door, or any other kind of contact evangelism, at least in terms of people coming to the Lord. I’m pretty skeptical about evangelistic crusades and revivals because they seldom produce any lasting fruit. A lot of people make commitments, but a year later these same people are very difficult to find.

There have been a lot of studies on the lack of fruit given this kind if evangelism and it is pretty consistent that the fruit is not only not good, it is actually bad. It is one thing if a person isn’t actually saved at a revival, but it is another thing that he thinks he was saved and wasn’t really. It inoculates him against the real Gospel and can be very difficult to help him see his real need for Christ after that sort of experience.

I think the reasons for this false salvation are pretty clear. It is because of a false Gospel and a false motivation for sharing the Gospel. For example, most presentations of the Gospel do not have the Gospel in them. Again, I thought this before I became Reformed so that has nothing to do with it. The Gospel is only good news to someone who is in desperate trouble with God. But a person who believes that God loves them and offers a wonderful plan for his life is not a person who is feeling terrible for having offended the Lord of Glory (most start this way). So what is he going to be saved from? In the end it is a very man centered message. Men are saved because they are wonderful and special.

Also, in my experience and observations over the years has led me to the conclusion that most people come to the Lord over a long period of time with close contact with a Christian or group of Christians. Christianity seems to be more caught than taught. It is a relational thing. Of course God’s Spirit convicting of sin is always necessary, but coupled with loving saints who Christ’s life in front of them is normally necessary as well. Don’t forget the proclamation of the Gospel. Men are in rebellion against God, are in deep trouble, and desperately need salvation. The Spirit confirms that this is true because the person feels terrible for his sin. God provided a substitute for us, by killing his Son in our place. Someone died for me and my sin. When the terror of a sinful life comes together with the offer of help from God the person lays aside his old life, dies in Christ, grabs a hold of God’s gracious offering, and God gives him a new life. When this happens to a person, he has been saved, and we know that he has been saved because his life will change. His life will change because he is not only saved from sin, but he is also saved to a right relationship with God. Jesus rose from the dead to give life to those who die with him. If a person has died because of his sin, God will give him new life because of Jesus’ resurrection. If there is no change, no matter what else has gone on, he is not saved yet. He is still in his sins. And we need to be very careful about proclaiming to the person that he has been saved just because he prayed the prayer, or signed the card or whatever.

I hope this helps.

Rebellion Causes Shame To The Rebel

The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. Is it I whom they provoke? declares the LORD. Is it not themselves, to their own shame? Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched."
Jeremiah 7:18-20 ESV

Living in a World Gone Bad

I think many of us live in a permanent state of location amnesia. We have forgotten where we live. Lose sight of the fact that this is a broken-down house where nothing works quite right, and it sets you up for all kinds of trouble.
Broken-Down House, Paul David Tripp, p. 25.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pray With All Prayers

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.
Ephesians 6:16-18 ESV

Monday, August 10, 2009

Readiness Given By The Gospel

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
Ephesians 6:14-15 ESV

Friday, August 07, 2009

Stand Firm

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Ephesians 6:13 ESV

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Big, But Important Words

For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. Romans 3:22-25 ESV

Body Art and Arn't

This has become a pretty hot topic of late and I thought I'd list a few links that discuss it in a really good way:

These first couple were wrtitten by Nancy Wilson:

This one was written by Rachel Jankovic:

The comment to this one, added by Heather Torosjan, was very good as well.

Finally, this final one was written by Douglas Wilson:

The point Doug makes about not what not loving your children well looks like was very telling and insightful.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Sins of the Whole World

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
1 John 2:2-3 ESV