Friday, January 6, 2012
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God. Selah
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the LORD;
your blessing be on your people! Selah
(Psalm 3 ESV)
I read this during my quiet times the other day and there were a couple things that struck me. David says he cried aloud to the Lord and then it says that [the Lord] answered me. What was the answer?
David's response to this answer is to sleep. The Lord sustains him through the night. Not only is David protected, but he is given the nourishment and restoration that only sleep provides. This is what the peace of the Lord looks like.
Next, we read David describe his (current) enemies as many thousands of people and that they are set all around. David slept with many thousands of enemies set all around him.
How often do you look for the peace of the Lord in changed circumstances? Do you sleep in the midst of your enemies? Do you think peace is only when there are no enemies left? Will you have the faith to sleep when it appears you are doomed?
Ultimately, Salvation belongs to the Lord, and we see that in the cross and resurrection of Jesus. The enemy of sin was struck on the cheek and his teeth were broken. Death's sting has been destroyed, and he will ultimately be vanquished. You will only have the peace of David if you have faith in the sufficient work of the True David. This peace let's you sleep and be nourished by the Lord in the midst of great trial, because he's already won it all.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Check out the two articles linked to below. The first one explains the why and the second the what of Bible-reading plans.
- Pick something manageable. Don't try to be super-Christian, just find something you can do.
- Consider your family--how will your wife or children be included in this plan? (writing to husbands, wives, how will you help your husband make this "stick"?)
- To use biblical language: Gird up your loins! Make the plan work for January, after that the habit will be set.
Bible Reading for 2012 and why...
Bible Reading Plans for 2012
Specific Plan Suggestions
- The Grant Horner plan is burly--10 chapters a day. You end up reading through sections of the bible many times (Prov. and Acts 12x!!) and the whole bible 1.5x in a year. This is a great plan if your goal is to be discouraged early on. If this plan is going to work, you really have to plan ahead. The how question is just as important as the what question. If you do nothing else with this plan, download it and read his story. His story is what we are after, but we can do that with different plans.
- The ESV Study Bible Plan (ESV study bible not required!). I really like this plan. It has the benefits of the Horner plan without the massive investment. You will typically read 4-5 chapters a day instead of 10. My suggestion is to download the four bookmarks and use them instead of the giant list. Bookmarks are really nice
- The M'Cheyne plan. This is ye ole' standby for bible reading. What I like about how they re-wrote it is that it has two chapters for private study, and two for family reading. This has the family element built right in. You can read your two chapters (a commitment of what, 8min?) in the morning before work and then spend 10min after dinner with the family going through the other two chapters. D. A. Carson's blog has commentary for each reading...could be helpful for the family time!
- James Gray's plan is really cool. I've been blessed by this one as well. It has you read through one book of the bible multiple times until you "own" it. Far from boring, this plan opens up books of the bible like you wouldn't believe. It's great.
Thoughts from a Bible-Plan Flunkie
- I like bookmarks because the day-specific plans can be really disheartening when it's July and you're still in Exodus. You'll have to take a week of vacation just to catch up, either that or every morning when you flip to your bible-reading-plan-calendar you can hear it silently mock your lack of discipline. This isn't planning for failure, this is focusing on what's important. I've become so depressed at how behind I was that I gave up a bible reading plan--and I don't think I'm the only one. The goal is to be regularly in God's Word, not to stick to some sort of calendar. Bookmarks don't mock you like a calendar does.
- Don't over-think the family time. You aren't going to preach a sermon every night, or necessarily present a brilliant exposition of the two chapters that M'Cheyne suggested you read after Mac'n'Cheese. But you can read two chapters with your family and ask them what they were interested in. You can ask what they thought the point of the passage was. You can ask what they learned about God or Man or God's plan of salvation. You can ask what they struggled with, either by not understanding or because it went against something they believed the Bible said about God or man. If all of this lasts 15min with a time of prayer at the end, praise God! If you have really little kids, consider doing what Clint Archer suggests here (Pt. 1 and Pt. 2)
What plan are you using and how will you incorporate your family into it? It doesn't have to be one from the list, it can be whatever you like, but take a few minutes this week and decide. I promise it'll be worth it. Come ready to share on Sunday.
The Christian Leader
Thursday, September 23, 2010
 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”There is no neutral ground here. It's not that people there were then given a choice to like darkness or light, no they hated the light because they loved the darkness. The reasons they hated the light are, as Dr. Cason relates in his commentary, are fundamentally moral. Their deeds reinforce the hardness of their heart, for they love the darkness because their deeds are evil.
(John 3:19-21 ESV)
Whoever we witness to, they will always be in the situation presented below. Those deeds will come up while we share the gospel, if they don't, then they'll come up right after. Here's the issue: Guy-A lives with his girlfriend - who you're also friends with, when we witness to him, do we realize that not only will he go from death to life, but will also need to find a new place to live? The life that we live apart from God is not clean, and it is not all stuff we can just instantly slough off like a porn collection that we can just dump in the garbage. No, sin is entangling. There is a certain amount of courage we need when witnessing. We also need a very similar form of hospitality, like a bed for this guy to sleep on when he goes from death to life. We need to remember that Jesus was the provision for the world. No one is beyond His reach, and no one is beyond His ability to sanctify.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
We’re all laughing. The table is filled with good food and surrounded by good friends. I just cracked a joke on Tina, my friend’s wife, who glowers at me and then laughter interrupts her Texas drawl. I look over and see my wife smiling while she holds my son. The little guy is sleeping even with all this noise. I knew he would take after me. But as you know, he isn’t really there.
Sometimes, usually when I am most happy, I see how my life “should” have been. I’ll remember my loss and my joy instantly turns to anger. Laughter turns to ashes in my mouth.
Anger. It runs deep. Often times I’m not even aware of it. I try to mitigate its outward expression through joy in friends and trips, but it follows me even there. If you don’t take care of anger the right way it will never leave.
I’m not angry at anyone in particular. I’m not angry at God, and I’m not angry at my wife. I just miss him so dearly. My joy is gone.
John Piper has a quote that I am going to butcher because I don’t have the book in front of me. He (basically) states: Sin is what you do when you no longer find your joy in Christ. Finding your joy in Christ requires giving up foolish notions of what your life “should” have been like.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9 (ESV)
In the midst of my pain I am continually tempted to find joy in the world. I know it would not last, but it would at least numb the pain for a while. I am always tempted to find earthly pleasures to distract me from the life I am supposed to live. But why not take some time to be selfish? Have some “me-time,” and live the way I want? It’s not like anyone would condemn me for it.
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct… 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
1 Peter 1:14,18-19 (ESV)
And that’s when I remember at how great a cost I was bought. There is no room for pity, and certainly no time to be spent living in license. I was called to do the work of Christ by the blood of Christ and that is what I must do.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Jim: I believe salvation can be found through Christ alone.
Phil: Isn't it just great that we believe things?!
Jim:... err.. I, uh,
Phil: Well, I gotta get back to work!
A friend of mine had a conversation very similar to this. When words like belief and truth have been taken from their original Christian meanings we are often at a loss when trying to communicate the truth of the gospel. How can Phil believe "A" and Jim, "not-A" and everything be hunky-dory? Yet, so often we come across people who don't understand that belief and truth is not something soft you can put on like a sweater, but rather it is a rock that you will either build upon or be crushed against.
A Quick Primer on Truth
The Medievals said that truth was the extent to which a description matched its objective reality. So, when I say that I am typing on a black laptop, anyone who could see me now would see that this description matches the objective reality of my body actually sitting and typing on the black laptop. This is true. If I said I was typing on a purple laptop there is no way in which we could make this mesh with the physical reality. This would be untrue.
No one, not even Phil, would disagree with the above paragraph. They can hold on to this description of truth and yet simultaneously hold that anything personal does not require a physical reality. Restated: 'The laptop is black' and 'the buddha is good' are believed by many to be two different kinds of truth. The first one requires a corresponding physical reality and the second does not. In fact, the second statement only requires a feeling or an internal disposition to validate it.
Christianity requires a corresponding objective reality to all truth-claims.
To prove this rather outrageous claim (according the the world at large) I will cite the following passages: Gen. 1, and John 1:1-5.
Genesis states that creation was spoken into existense. God spoke "let there be light." and there was. John says that there was the pre-existent Word of God that created all things. This Word is then shown to be Jesus. Later, Jesus says that those that have seen him have seen the Father, and again he is the Truth. Not that he speaks truthfully, although he does, but he is the embodiement of truth.
Our definition of truth is God. Our definition of Beauty is God. Our definition of Perfect is God. All of these abstracts that the post-modern likes to base in his or her own subjective opinion (those "truths" that lack an objective reality) are intended to be placed in the objective person and character of God.
When we speak of belief and truth we need to ensure that we define our terms. I find it is easier to do this with an actual text of scripture sitting there on the table. When your coworker says "all roads lead to heaven," you can point him to the passage where Jesus says "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father but by me." Unlike sharing your "beliefs," which is so typical of the squishy share-athon that is our modern public discourse, texts are difficult to push around.
So live your day in the light of the objective truth of Jesus Christ. Remember you are not free to base your reality in your subjective personally experience. Our reality, our truth rests in the objective person of Jesus and his disclosure of the Father.