Monday, March 24, 2008

Elderly woman (92) witnesses to man trying to rob her

The buttocks and the soul

I just read this from Rich Lusk and had to share it (very good):

  • "The psalmist speaks of bowing and kneeling before the Lord [Ps 95]. These physical postures are not arbitrary. What we do with our bodies in worship matters. Not only do physical motions express the emotions of the heart, from inside out, but they also shape the heart from the outside in. We may not feel particularly humble one Sunday morning, but kneeling with our bodies to confess sin helps adjust our frame of mind. God desires us to worship with our whole persons, not just our minds or hearts. The biblical worldview distinguishes soul and body, but there is no sharp separation between interiority and exteriority. For example, Proverbs teaches us that corporeal punishment shapes the heart of the child. The buttocks and the soul are somehow connected. In the book of Samuel, physical food enlivens one’s spirit. Food doesn’t just satisfy the stomach; it affects the whole person. When the Israelites rebelled in their hearts, they are called “stiff necked,” indicating that bodily posture (refusal to bow the head) revealed an inner attitude pride. The (external) music of David soothed Saul’s (inner) spirit. And so on."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Breastplate

This powerful prayer was composed by Saint Patrick in the year 433. He was aware that there was an ambush to try to kill him and his men en route to the court of King Laoghhaire. It was during the march that they chanted the sacred Lorica or Deer's Cry - later known as St. Patrick's Breastplate. As the druid henchmen lay in hiding, ready to attack and kill, they saw neither Patrick or his men, but only a gentle doe followed by twenty fawns. St. Patrick and his men were saved. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Follow you heart?

Disney leads the way in our culture, ever since each one of us was a child, in telling us that all we need to do is “follow our heart.” What they don’t tell us is that our heart will lie and swindle and deceive us. Jer 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things”

The world says trust your heart

  • The Bible says don’t be deceived by your heart
  • Prov 28:26 – “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.”
The world says follow your heart
  • The Bible says to keep or guard your heart
  • Prov 4:23 – “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
The world says listen to your heart
  • The Bible says to direct your heart
  • Prov 23:9 – “Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way.
Our culture is a slave to their own emotions and feelings. Our feelings are a blessing from God but we are not supposed to be led by them. We are told to guard and direct our heart not be led by it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Too Pious to Party

In a dark world full of lost souls, starving children and unreached tribes should Christians feel guilty for celebrating and rejoicing? When the world is weeping should Christians be laughing? When the world is mourning should Christians be dancing? When the world is famished should Christians be feasting? Does physical happiness refute personal holiness? Does partying contradict piety? Many Christians are confused by these questions. They tend to feel guilty and ashamed when they compare what they have to what the lost do not. When they look out at the world and see pain, persecution and poverty they feel ashamed of their own health, liberty and wealth. What is a Christian to do?

This paragraph will most certainly end with the word "but..." Christians should have a heart for the lost. We should, like Jesus, look out on the crowds with eyes of compassion. We are to mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep. Jesus said when we give the hungry food and drink and when we welcome the stranger and clothe the naked and when we visit the sick and those in prison we do or don't do all those things to Him (Mt 25). God's Law tells us this: "For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’" (Duet. 15:11) We should always be proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom to the world. If we love Jesus we will feed His sheep. But...

There has always been lost souls in the world. There has always been poverty and suffering. God is sovereignly at work in history restoring what was lost at the fall. The kingdom of God is advancing and Christ will reign till all enemies are under His feet. Until it is all restored and Christ returns we will and always have had the lost, the dying, the sick, the poor and the persecuted in the world. In spite of the reality of sin in the world God wanted His people to celebrate. We don't have to, out of guilt or pity, wait till all is restored before we laugh and dance. There will always be plenty of reasons to mourn but there is also plenty of reasons to celebrate.

God's people Israel, in the Old Testament, were surrounded by pagan cultures. There was poverty, idolatry and suffering in those cultures. In that context look at what God commanded them to do: "...then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the Lord your God chooses and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household." (Duet 14:25-27) Douglas Jones and Douglas Wilson, in their book "Angels in the Architecture" sarcastically commented on this verse: "Such unthriftiness. Such waste. Such gluttony. Such winebibbing. Such is a command of our holy God."

They also wrote this:

  • Celebration is worshiping God with our bodies, with the material creation He has set up around us. Celebrating – whether in feasts, ceremonies, holidays, formal worship, or lovemaking –are all part of obeying God’s command to “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength” (Duet 6:5; Mk 12:30) We are to show our love for God not just with one portion of our being (the spiritual aspect); we are to love God with our whole body, heart and strength and legs and lips.
  • Complaint is the flag of ingratitude, and it waives above the center of unbelieving hearts –“when they knew God, the glorified him not as God, neither were thankful” (Rom 1:21). Yet by grace, God’s redemption in creation ought to keep us in a perpetual state of thanks which bursts out in celebration at every opportunity. Again, we are celebrating God’s dominion...
There is indeed, in time and history, "a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance" (Ecc. 3:4) "The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up." (1 Sam 2:7) Let us celebrate the Lord. We must resist the gnostic tendency to separate the physical things into the category of evil and the spiritual things into the category of good. We serve a God who clothed Himself with human flesh and after He died His body was resurrected. “Asceticism” is the doctrine that a person can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing rigorous self-denial and extreme abstinence. The apostle Paul made it clear that asceticism was not the answer: "These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh." (Col 2:23)

Victorious kingdom living includes celebratory kingdom feasting and dancing. It is sin that causes us to forget our blessings and fail to celebrate them: "Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you" (Duet. 28: 47-48). We Christians sometimes have such a hard time gratefully honoring God's blessings in celebration. Yes, we should not forget about the lost but we should also not forget to celebrate the fact that we've been found! Have we become too pious to party? "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Looking Back - John Owen

"There is no duty we perform for God that sin does not oppose. And the more spirituality or holiness there is in what we do, the greater is its enmity to it. Thus those who seek most for God, experience the strongest opposition."

~ John Owen, Sin & Temptation

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Abusing the Poor

Wow, it's amazing how you can misunderstand a passage for so long. The passage about the widow who gave her last two small coins is probably not about what you think its about. Jesus wasn't saying what you probably think He was saying. Jesus wasn't recommending irresponsibility. Watch this!