Monday, May 31, 2010

why remember on memorial day

"There is 'recorded' history and also 'remembered' history. The things we remember in our common life quietly convey a precious inheritance that helps us keep faith with the dead and form, in unspoken ways, the sensibilities and attitudes, not to say hopes and dreams, of those who will follow us. There is no greater betrayal than to impoverish a generation yet unborn by willful acts of amnesia. What we honor in our public life has a bearing on how we live as individuals."

(Robert Wilken, Keeping the Commandments)

Monday, May 24, 2010

under his shadow

"As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." (Song of Solomon, 2:3-4 ESV)

I am enjoying reading again some of C H Spurgeon's communion meditations and addresses. (Til He Come, Pilgrim Publications, 1971). Here's a quote that stood out to me today...

Some Christians cultivate reverence at the expense of childlike love; they kneel down, but they dare not sit down. Our Divine Friend and Lover wills not that it should be so; He would not have us stand on ceremony with Him, but come boldly unto Him.

"Let us be simple with Him, then,
Not backward, stiff or cold,
As though our Bethlehem could be
What Sinai was of old."

... Under His shadow we are to feel that we are at home, and then He will make Himself at home to us by becoming food unto our souls, and giving spiritual refreshment to us as we rest.

(C. H. Spurgeon, "Under His Shadow", addressed to a small group at Mentone. Full text here.)

hokie storm chasers

Great picture of the Hokie Storm Chasers team. Notice the cars are running, in case the team has to.

Friday, May 21, 2010

psalm 1 in haiku

Blessed is the man
Who does not walk, stand or sit

In facets of sin

But delights in Word

So much so that day and night

His mind chews on it

Resembling a tree

Providentially planted

By flowing rivers

He produces with

Remarkable renewal

Having great success

But the ungodly

Are plainly the opposite

From the righteous man

They are like wheat husk

Useless, dried up and lightweight

Floating on breezes

This is the reason

Sinners are shamed in judgment

Avoiding worship

God is vigilant

Over the ways and the paths
Of the righteous man

But the foul lifestyle

Of those living against God

Will be demolished.

By David E. Wilson
At Relevant Revelation
Kings Church of Christ, Brooklyn

the first great and primary business

"The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous..."

(Psalm 118:14-15 ESV)

I read Psalm 118 this morning in my QT. I was running later than I wanted, and at times like that you are tempted to cut short your time in prayer and meditation on the Word to "get on with the day's business" (or ministry, as the case may be). I came upon verses 14 & 15 and realized that time spent in God's presence is not superfluous, but necessary.

This truth reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from George Mueller...

"I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man may be nourished... I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it." (George Mueller of Bristol)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"they were a wall to us"

But one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal's wife, "Behold, David sent messengers out of the wilderness to greet our master, and he railed at them. Yet the men were very good to us, and we suffered no harm, and we did not miss anything when we were in the fields, as long as we went with them. They were a wall to us both by night and by day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep. Now therefore know this and consider what you should do, for harm is determined against our master and against all his house, and he is such a worthless man that one cannot speak to him." (1 Samuel 25:14-17 ESV)

This is a description of the type of men that had gathered under the leadership of King David, even though he was in exile. It struck me that this is an apt description of godly men, and especially husbands:

--they are good and do no harm to those under their care.

--they have integrity and do not use their power to take from others.

--persons and goods are safe under their care. They do not use their power for personal advantage.

--they are vigilant protectors. They are a wall both day and night. They are guardians who never go off-duty.

--they protect those under their care from all harm both from others and themselves.

Photo of the Citadel of David, Jerusalem.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

the task of the biblical communicator

Not sure where I got this, but it aptly portrays the process from exegesis to exposition.

Monday, May 10, 2010

repenting of our own righteousness

A quote from Tim Keller follows, from his book The Prodigal God on the need to repent, not simply of our unrighteousness, but our righteousness also. The context is the story of the prodigal sons -- both sons wanted the Father's possessions, but neither really loved the Father himself...

What must we do, then, to be saved? To find God we must repent of the things we have done wrong, but if that is all you do, you may remain just an elder brother. To truly become a Christian we must also repent of the reasons we ever did anything right. Pharisees only repent of their sins, but Christians repent for the very roots of their righteousness, too. We must learn how to repent of the sin under all our other sins and under all our righteousness – the sin of seeking to be our own Savior and Lord. We must admit that we’ve put our ultimate hope in both our wrongdoing and right-doing we have been seeking to get around God or get control of God in order to get hold of those things.

It is only when you see the desire to be your own Savior and Lord—lying beneath both your sins and your moral goodness —that you are on the verge of becoming a Christian indeed. When you realize that the antidote to being bad is not just being good, you are on the brink. If you follow through, it will change everything—how you relate to God, self, others, the world, your work, you sins, your virtue. It’s called the new birth because its so radical”

Thursday, May 6, 2010

what to pray on the NDP

Ask for God’s wisdom, guidance and protection for President Obama, Vice-President Biden, U.S. Senators (for us: Jim Webb and Mark Warner), U.S. Representatives (Rick Boucher), Governor Bob McDonnell, State Senators and Delegates (John Edwards, David Nutter and James Shuler).

Also for our local leaders: board of supervisors, town council, administrators, school boards, and university administration.

For our churches to be alive in Christ, and the gospel to advance and bear fruit in our community. For unity in truth among churches.

For effectiveness and protection of local law enforcement & safety officers. For successful prosecution of crimes and lawlessness both in our region and throughout the nation.

For generosity and sacrifice to abound as we deal with economic recession. For economic reform that is just and sensible. For ethical leadership in American corporations.

For repentance from national sins of pride, unbelief, injustice, idolatry, greed, materialism, selfishness, violence, and sexual immorality.

For preservation of religious freedom here and abroad.

For our educational institutions: local schools and colleges (Virginia Tech, Radford University, and NRCC).

That our international residents would feel welcome in our community and have opportunity to hear the gospel.

For an end to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and for protection for U.S. troops abroad.

Healing for broken homes, children without parents, and victims of abuse.
For an end to the abortion holocaust and for successful efforts of pregnancy resource centers.

An end to pornography, violence against women, and sex trafficking. For truthfulness, decency and morality in media.

For good stewardship of our natural resources, and protection for those around our country working in disaster relief.

For our homeland security. Thanks to God for protection from the recent unsuccessful NYC car bomb.

And thanksgiving for the many bounties and blessings our nation has received from God in his grace: food, clean water, clothing, homes, families, friends, democracy, law and order, freedom to worship, and many more.

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him." (Nahum 1:7 ESV)

"But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare." (Jeremiah 29:7)

”First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1, 2)

a prayer for the NDP 2010


We are thankful for the abundant blessings You have bestowed on America. Our forefathers looked to You as Protector, Provider, and the Promise of hope. But we have wandered far from that firm foundation. May we repent for turning our backs on Your faithfulness.

We pray that this great nation will be restored by Your forgiveness.

From bondage, You grant freedom.

Through Your own sacrifice, You offer salvation.

From the state of despair, You offer peace.

From the bounties of Heaven, You have blessed – not because of our goodness – but by Your grace.

You have given us freedom to worship You in spirit and in truth as Your holy Word instructs. May our lives honor You in word and deed. May our nation acknowledge that all good things come from the Father above.

President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that our nation should set apart a day for national prayer to confess our sins and transgressions in sorrow, “yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon… announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

“We have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our own hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own… we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God who made us! It behooves us then… to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

Help us to pray earnestly for our president and leaders who govern, that they will humble themselves and seek Your guidance so that everything we do will shine the light of Your glory in a darkened world.

May our prayers as a people and a nation be heard and blessed for such a time as this. We make this plea in faith, believing in the mighty name of Jesus our Lord.


(By Franklin Graham, National Day of Prayer, 2010)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

a timely prayer... from 40 years ago

Opening a session of the Pensacola Bible Institute in August, 1969, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones prayed...

"O Lord our God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us especially, we pray thee again, for our folly - for our foolish talking about our century and the 'modern man', as if anything had changed.

Awaken us, we pray thee, and bring us to see that thy method is still the same, that the truth remains unchanged and unchanging, and that the power of the blessed Holy Spirit is in no sense diminished.

Lord, hear us. Revive thy work O Lord, thy mighty arm make bare. Speak with a voice that wakes the dead and make the people hear. And unto thee, and unto thee alone, shall we give all the praise and the honor and the glory, both now and forever, amen."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

journaling today with

A Parker Challenger (1934-37), red marble + Noodlers Habanero ink. (Actually, the nib on this pen broke in restoration and has been replaced with an Eversharp nib.)

And a Parker 21 special Mark II (1950ish) + vintage Skrip deluxe blue.

teach me

"Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer."

(George Croly, "Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart")

Miscellaneous questions...
  • Can I trust God to complete me, to fill my empty places with his love?
  • Can I be content if my gifts (real gifts) are not exceptional?