Friday, April 30, 2010

Howard Hendricks on OT books chronology

When I was in seminary, Howard Hendricks (aka "Prof") gave us a little card with the books of the OT chronologically arranged.

The scanned copy I have was a bit blurry and I wanted to make something like this available for our church class in OT theology ("Story of Redemption"). A few minor edits and here it is...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

sunday quotes

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:12-17 ESV)

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)

“Dost thou renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the sinful desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not follow, nor be led by them ?” Answer. “I renounce them all.” (Book of Common Prayer, 1662)

“The world system is committed to at least four major objectives, which I can summarize in four words: fortune, fame, power, pleasure. First and foremost: Fortune, money. The world system is driven by money; it feeds on materialism. Second: Fame. That is another word for popularity. Fame is the longing to be known, to be somebody in someone else's eyes. Third: Power. This is having influence, maintaining control over individuals or groups or companies or whatever. It is the desire to manipulate and maneuver others to do something for one's own benefit. Fourth: Pleasure. At its basic level, pleasure has to do with fulfilling one's sensual desires. It's the same mindset that's behind the slogan: ‘If it feels good, do it.’"
(Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity)

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is
good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Soren Kierkegaard defines worldliness as "the despair of finitude"...

"For worldliness means precisely attributing infinite value to the indifferent. ... By seeing the multitude of men about it, by getting engaged in all sorts of worldly affairs, by becoming wise about how things go in this world, such a man forgets himself, forgets what his name is (in the divine understanding of it), does not dare to believe in himself, finds it too venturesome a thing to be himself, far easier and safer to be like the others, to become an imitation, a number, a cipher in the crowd...
...thus it is precisely with the despair of finitude. In spite of the fact that a man is in despair he can perfectly well live on in the temporal, in fact all the better for it; he may be praised by men, be honored and esteemed, and pursue all the aims of temporal life. What is called worldliness is made up of just such men, who (if one may use the expression) pawn themselves to the world. They use their talents, accumulate money, carry on worldly affairs, calculate shrewdly, etc., etc., are perhaps mentioned in history, but themselves they are not; spiritually understood, they have no self, no self for whose sake they could venture everything, no self before God -- however selfish they may be for all that." (Soren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death, chap 3)

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

“The followers of Jesus are to be different — different from both the nominal church and the secular world, different from both the religious and the irreligious. The Sermon on the Mount is the most complete delineation anywhere in the New Testament of the Christian value-system, ethical standard, religious devotion, attitude to money, ambition, life-style and network of relationships — all of which are totally at variance with those of the non-Christian world. And this Christian Counterculture is the life of the kingdom of God, a fully human life indeed but lived out under the divine rule.” (John Stott)

“Sin murdered Christ; will you be a friend to it? Sin pierced the heart of the Incarnate God; can you love it?” (C. H. Spurgeon)

“What, then, is the nature of petitionary prayer? It is, in essence, rebellion - rebellion against the world in all its fallen-ness, the absolute and undying refusal to accept as normal what is pervasively abnormal. To pray declares that God and his world are at cross-purposes; to "sleep," or "faint," or "lose heart" is to act as if they are not.” (David Wells)

Some of the last words of Jesus...
  • Matthew 26:41... "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
  • Mark 13:33... "Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come."
  • Luke 21:36 ... "But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

remember me, said the criminal

Such a beautiful picture of the gospel here:

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)

While others are mocking, or mourning, or merely observing... one makes a simple request to the Man crucified beside him. The criminal confesses a number of truths...

  • That he himself is worthy of judgment. (He fears God.)
  • That this Jesus is not worthy of judgment, but is righteous.
  • That Jesus will come into a Kingdom.

And so he asks to be remembered.

And he is given a word of promise from the King dying beside him -- that very day the criminal would stand in Paradise with his new King.

The criminal has done nothing worthy of salvation. He receives the promise of life and honor -- things which the Pharisees and scribes have been working for all their lives -- he receives it as a dying gift.

He could not be baptized, join a church, or tithe. He could not even reach out his hand to be healed. All he could do was ask, so why not?

And what a promise to receive:
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

So why not ask?

Friday, April 23, 2010

early premillennialism

In my studies today I came across these quotes by two prominent, early Christian writers (aka "church fathers")...

"But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare." (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 80, ca AD 150)

"Our inquiry relates to what is promised in heaven, not on earth. But we do confess that a kingdom is promised to us upon the earth, although before heaven, only in another state of existence; inasmuch as it will be after the resurrection for a thousand years in the divinely-built city of Jerusalem, 'let down from heaven,' which the apostle also calls 'our mother from above;' and, while declaring that our citizenship, is in heaven, he predicates of it that it is really a city in heaven. This both Ezekiel had knowledge of and the Apostle John beheld. . . . "This city [new Jerusalem] has been provided by God for receiving the saints on their resurrection, and refreshing them with the abundance of all really spiritual blessings, as a recompense for those which in the world we have either despised or lost; since it is both just and God-worthy that His servants should have their joy in the place where they have also suffered affliction for His name's sake." (Tertullian, Against Marcion, book 3 chap 25, ca AD 200)

This is a reminder that a belief in Christ's 1000-year reign in Jerusalem (on this earth) is not a novel viewpoint.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

secular logic and the handwriting on the wall

On April 15, 2010, United States District Court Judge Barbara Crabb, for the Western District of Wisconsin, struck down the National Day of Prayer statute, 36 U.S.C. § 119, as violating the Establishment Clause.

Judge Crabb ruled that the statute serves no secular purpose, but rather calls the nation to engage in a religious exercise – prayer.

This decision makes perfect sense from a secular viewpoint. It is logical in a pluralistic society which must accommodate atheists as well as all stripes of religious beliefs.

But if U.S. leaders cannot call upon people to pray or acknowledge any kind of higher power, then this is problematic if in fact there is a Power who can (or does) bring blessing or disaster. So in a sense atheism has been "established" as our guiding governmental philosophy.

In other words, we cannot say for certain that a religious exercise "serves no secular purpose", when in fact it may be supportive of the national welfare. To so rule against this is to take a religious viewpoint, namely, that religion serves no purpose.

Is this what the framers of the Constitution had in mind? What was their intent in non-establishment of religion? Was it to prohibit such calls to prayer and dependence upon God? (Or was it rather not to establish one state church?) Shirley Dobson, chair for the National Day of Prayer task force, writes:

In her ruling, Judge Crabb has completely ignored the truth of our history. In 1789, only a few days after the passage of the First Amendment she cites, Congress asked President Washington to declare a national day of thanksgiving and prayer, and he issued the proclamation shortly after on October 3, 1789. More than 600 public proclamations have been recorded since that time, and 33 of our 44 presidents have made such declarations. In 1952, a bill unanimously passed by Congress was signed into law by President Truman setting aside an annual National Day of Prayer. And, in 1988, legislative steps were taken by Congress and President Reagan to establish the first Thursday of May as the specific day for the observance each year. [Email message, April 20, 2010]

It would appear that the original framers of our Constitution, and the national leaders for 200 years afterward, have not seen a conflict with the establishment clause and a call for national prayer.

We've come a long way.

Is it time for Christians to panic? No. Will Christians pray anyway? Yes. We don't pray because it is legislated from national leaders, but because it is legislated from above, by God. Is this the end of our country? Probably not, but who knows...

The point is, this court decision is a symbolic action of a deeper mindset of many of the ruling elite of our country. It is the belief is that there is no law higher than ourselves, and that there is no dependence upon anyone but ourselves, at least from the national perspective. Lex Rex (the law is king) has become Rex Lex (the king is law, or "he who rules makes the rules.")

When theism is rejected from the public square, then humanism is king by default.

The problem we face, however, is that God not only deals with individuals, but he also deals with nations corporately. The attitudes and actions of national leaders, however logical by secular standards, do come under God's scrutiny and judgment.

Hear the prophet Daniel as he relates to a Babylonian king how the Persians will soon topple the great Babylonian empire...

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, "Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled.

"But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.

"And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

"Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."

(Daniel 5:17-28 ESV)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

a welcome awaiting

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you." (John 14:1-4)

In Sunday's message David Kingston shared a story of the comfort that comes from knowing that Christ has overcome death and is preparing a place for us:

What a comfort this is to us! For all of us, death is the unknown; the place from which no-one returns. But that is not quite right; Christ has returned from death, and moreover he waits for us and has gone ahead to prepare a place for us. There is a lovely story that illustrates this; I have used it before, but it bears repeating. It is about the nineteenth-century clergyman John Todd...

When he was six years old, both his parents died. A kindhearted aunt raised him until he left home to study for the ministry. Later, this aunt became seriously ill, and in distress she wrote Todd a letter. Would death mean the end of everything, or could she hope for something beyond? Here, condensed from The Autobiography of John Todd, is the letter he sent in reply:

"It is now thirty-five years since I, as a boy of six, was left quite alone in the world. You sent me word you would give me a home and be a kind mother to me. I have never forgotten the day I made the long journey to your house. I can still recall my disappointment when, instead of coming for me yourself, you sent your servant, Caesar, to fetch me.

"I remember my tears and anxiety as, perched high on your horse and clinging tight to Caesar, I rode off to my new home. Night fell before we finished the journey, and I became lonely and afraid. 'Do you think she'll go to bed before we get there?' I asked Caesar. 'Oh no!' he said reassuringly, 'She'll stay up for you. When we get out o' these here woods, you'll see her candle shining in the window.'

"Presently we did ride out into the clearing, and there, sure enough, was your candle. I remember you were waiting at the door, that you put your arms close about me--a tired and bewildered little boy. You had a fire burning on the hearth, a hot supper waiting on the stove. After supper you took me to my new room, heard me say my prayers, and then sat beside me till I fell asleep.

"Some day soon God will send for you, to take you to a new home. Don't fear the summons, the strange journey, or the messenger of death. God can be trusted to do as much for you as you were kind enough to do for me so many years ago. At the end of the road you will find love and a welcome awaiting, and you will be safe in God's care."

Monday, April 19, 2010

communion with the Father in love

I read again some passages from John Owen's Communion with God (R J K Law's edited version, Banner of Truth, 1991) that are so helpful. I need to ponder these truths often...

"Have fellowship with the Father in his love. Have no fears or doubts about his love for you. The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that he loves you." (p. 13)

"Believers must receive the love of the Father. Communion or fellowship lies in giving and receiving. Until the love of the Father is received, we have no communion with the Father in love. How then is this love of the Father to be received in order that we may have fellowship with him? There is only one way and that is by faith. To receive the love of the Father is to believe that he does love us. God has so fully, so clearly revealed his love, that it may be received by faith." (p. 16)

"Many saints have no greater burden in their lives than that their hearts do not constantly delight and rejoice in God. There is still in them a resistance to walking close with God. Why is this? Is it not because they are not skillful and so neglect having loving fellowship with the Father? But the more we see of God's love, so much more shall we delight in him. All that we learn of God will only frighten us away from him if we do not see him as loving and merciful to us. But if your heart is taken up with the Father's love as the chief property of his nature, it cannot help but choose to be overpowered, conquered and embraced by him. This, if anything, will arouse our desire to make our eternal home with God. If the love of a father will not make a child delight in him, what will?" (p 32-33)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

4.16 -- can we get over it?

Sometimes in our impatience towards others we say things like, "just get over it." And that may be applicable to a lot of things that are superficial, like a flat tire or an empty box of ice cream in the freezer.

I've realized that what happened here on 4.16.07 has changed us for the rest of our lives, and that's very hard to explain to some people.

In other words, I don't think we'll ever "get over" that snowy and ominous April morning. You just don't have a massacre in your community, at your school, and not be affected for a long time. The nearness of the brutal tragedy produces a tender wound that still aches even after the rest of the world is following other headlines.

Maybe that's why many war veterans really don't want to talk much about the so-called glorious battles they fought. There are just too many reminders of loss, of numbing fear, of close friends lost, and of the cruel triumph of evil, even if it was only for a short while.

I tell you something else that's hard to get over: that I'm not the center of the universe. There are certain times that we really awaken to our dependence and vulnerability. The Scripture says of God, "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11:36) That speaks of the sovereignty of God over all things, working all things according to the counsel of his will. That's comforting, but it's also a bit unnerving to realize my comfortable plans for my life may not coincide with his sovereign plans for me.

But this must be coupled with the infinite goodness of God: "The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him." (Nahum 1:7) There is a wider, bigger, and ultimately more wonderful plan that we don't understand at this point. The Cross teaches us that truth, that God is both sovereign and good. And that's where my trust is fixed.

Further, this moves me to sympathize and to pray for all those undergoing severe trials: those experiencing earthquakes, those persecuted for their faith, those living in lawless regimes. We all share a common humanity, and often a common Savior. The scars and sorrows last a long time, but the gospel tells us, it need not be forever.

They might not "get over it" in this life, but for those who commit to the Lord, a new world is coming...

"For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:17)

Amen, come, Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly.

And they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us."

But the men of Israel said to the Hivites, "Perhaps you live among us; then how can we make a covenant with you?"

They said to Joshua, "We are your servants."

And Joshua said to them, "Who are you? And where do you come from?"

They said to him, "From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the LORD your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, 'Take provisions in your hand for the journey and go to meet them and say to them, "We are your servants. Come now, make a covenant with us."' Here is our bread. It was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey on the day we set out to come to you, but now, behold, it is dry and crumbly. These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey."

So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them. (Joshua 9:3-15 ESV)

You may know the rest of the story... Israel got tricked, and the Gibeonites lived nearby, in the land that Israel was to possess.

The take-away lesson for me on this is: Success can result in self-sufficiency and carelessness. The leaders had enough savvy to ask questions and examine credentials, but yet they did not seek the Lord for wisdom and guidance. They did not take the time to pray, and apparently thought that was not necessary.

How do you know when you're being self-sufficient and careless? That's simple -- when you are prayer-less, it is a sure sign that you are depending on your own adequacy, strength and wisdom, because you are not seeking that from above.

The Apostle Paul wrote, "Never stop praying." (1 Thess 5:17 NLT)

Fenelon on sorrow

Do you wonder why God has to make it so hard on you? Why doesn't He make you good without making you miserable in the meantime? Of course He could, but He does not choose to do so. He wants you to grow a little at a time and not burst into instant maturity. This is what He has decided and you can only adore His wisdom even when you don't understand it.

I am awed by what suffering can produce. You and I are nothing without the cross. I agonize and cry when the cross is working within me, but when it is over I look back in admiration for what God has accomplished. Of course I am then ashamed that I bore it so poorly. I have learned so much from my foolish reactions.

You yourself must endure the painful process of change. There is much more at work here than your instant maturity. God wants to build a relationship with you that is based on faith and trust and not on glamorous miracles.

God uses the disappointments, disillusionment, and failures of your life to take your trust away from yourself and help you put your trust in Him. It is like being burned in a slow fire, but you would rather be burned up in a blaze of glory, wouldn't you? How would this fast burn detach you from yourself? Thus God prepares events to detach you from yourself and from others.

God is your Father, do you think He would ever hurt you? He just cuts you off from those things you love in the wrong way. You cry like a baby when God removes something or someone from your life, but you would cry a lot more if you saw the eternal harm your wrong attachments cause you.

You do not see with the eyes of eternity. God knows everything. Nothing happens without His consent. You are upset by small losses, but do not see eternal gains! Don't dwell on your suffering. Your oversensitivity makes your trials worse. Abandon yourself to God.

Everything in you that is not already a part of the established kingdom of God needs the cross. When you accept the cross in love. His kingdom begins to come to life within you. You must bear the cross and be satisfied with what pleases God. You have need of the cross. The faithful Giver of every good gift gives the cross to you with His own hand. I pray you will come to see how blessed it is to be corrected for your own good.

My God, help us to see Jesus as our model in all suffering. You nailed Him to the cross for us. You made Him a man of sorrows to teach us how useful sorrow is. Give us a heart to turn our backs on ourselves and trust only in You.

--Francois Fenelon (1651-1715), quoted in The Seeking Heart

Monday, April 12, 2010

what glory doth remain

What sweet of life endureth
Unmixed with bitter pain?
Midst earthly change and chances
What glory doth remain?

All is a feeble shadow,
A dream that will not stay;
Death cometh in a moment,
And taketh all away.

O Christ, a light transcendent
Shines in Thy countenance,
And none can tell the sweetness,
The beauty of Thy glance.

In this may Thy poor servant
His joy eternal find;
Thou calledst him, O rest him,
Thou Lover of mankind!

(John of Damascus, 675-749)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

sunday quotes

“The early Christians did not invent the empty tomb and the meetings or sighting of the risen Jesus. … Nobody was expecting this kind of thing; no kind of conversion experience would have invented it, no matter how guilty (or how forgiven) they felt, no matter how many hours they pored over the Scriptures. To suggest otherwise is to stop doing history and enter into a fantasy world of our own." (N. T. Wright)

“It is not enough for the skeptic, then, to simply dismiss the Christian teaching about the resurrection of Jesus by saying, 'It just couldn’t have happened.' He or she must face and answer all these historical questions: Why did Christianity emerge so rapidly, with such power? No other band of messianic followers in that era concluded their leader was raised from the dead-why did this group do so? No group of Jews ever worshipped a human being as God. What led them to do it? Jews did not believe in divine men or individual resurrections. What changed their worldview virtually overnight? How do you account for the hundreds of eyewitnesses to the resurrection who lived on for decades and publicly maintained their testimony, eventually giving their lives for their beliefs?... Each year at Easter I get to preach on the resurrection. In my sermon I always say to my skeptical, secular friends that, even if they can’t believe in the resurrection, they should want it to be true. Most of them care deeply about justice for the poor, alleviating hunger and disease, and caring for the environment. Yet many of them believe that the material world was caused by an accident and that the world and everything in it will eventually burn up in the death of the sun. They find it discouraging that so few people care about justice without realizing that their own worldview undermines any motivation to make the world a better place.” (Tim Keller, The Reason for God)

"Resurrection is the hinge pin of the Christian faith. Can I share a bit of my own journey with you? My childhood situation was troubled, so when I left home for college, I felt like I had escaped like a bird from a dark cage. But as a college student the countless new options available to me set me reeling. I could be who I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do. Each day I decided how to live my life: how to use my time, pick my friends and do as I pleased. On one hand that felt exciting, but on the other I realized that if I picked a bad road I’d have no one else to blame for my poor decisions. I didn’t want to admit it, but I felt overwhelmed. Yet at that very time a friend from high school confronted me with this matter of the resurrection.

"I had been reading the Bible with him for several weeks, and had been shaken by the picture of Christ that I’d never seen before. I was attracted to Jesus, but I had so many doubts. And to add to my hesitations, I had some inkling of the colossal implications that true faith in Christ would mean for my life. I was trapped in indecision.

"So with razor clarity, my friend focused my attention to the very heart of the matter. He simply said, 'Well there really are only two ways this story can play out. Jesus really did rise from the dead, or he really didn’t. If he rose, then all that the Scriptures say regarding Him are true. He is truly divine, the very Creator of the universe. And if He is God, then the only reasonable response you can make is to give Him your entire life.

"'If on the other hand, Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, he was simply just another philosopher, one of many the world has known. If Jesus body is still in the tomb, it really doesn’t matter who you follow. Any road will do. But your decision must hinge on the Resurrection.'

"I took that as both a powerful insight and a personal challenge. Really all of my life rightly would hinge on this one central issue. Did Jesus rise from the dead, proving all that this Book declares, or not? I set out to discover once and for all, to be convinced, YES or NO, did Jesus really rise or not?

"Well, I found my answer. I became convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Jesus died on the cross, rose again on the third day, conquering death, to pay in full my sin debt, and to release me from my guilt and shame. He earned the right to be both my Master and my Lover. So I trusted Him and asked the Living Lord Jesus to enter my life and take control. I began to serve Him and enjoy Him in an intimate love relationship.

"I would be amiss if I failed to tell you what happened inside my heart. When I trusted Christ to accept me as His child and to come and be my Lord, for the first time in my life I felt loved, profoundly, wonderfully loved. Now, that’s not everyone’s experience, but the Lord knew what I needed. I had God as my closest companion and my deepest friend. I knew that nothing could ever separate me from His love, and I sensed that even when I slept He was with me, to cover me with his love.

"You see, because Jesus is alive, He is able to love us, to lead us, and to teach us how to live lives in His resurrection power. Now, living in His resurrection power, we can love a spouse that is hard to live with. By His victory over sin we can say goodbye to bad habits like a sharp cutting tongue or fits of anger. We can look at the opposite sex as a beautiful sister or brother rather than as a sex object. In resurrection power we can raise our children to engage life with courage and hope. We can practice the reality that it is truly is more blessed to give than receive. We can defend the defenseless, and care for the needy, and bring good news to the captives. We can love because He first loved us. And we can look at death square in the face with a smile. Because Jesus conquered death what can mere man do to us? We can seek first God’s kingdom rather than simply storing up treasures here. (Chris Faith)

Friday, April 2, 2010

there is but one day

I got me flowers to straw thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.

The Sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’ East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour?
We count three hundred, but we misse:
There is but one, and that one ever.

(George Herbert, 1593-1633)