Thursday, September 30, 2010
image by Alejandra Mavroski
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss.
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life.
I know that it is finished.
I will not boast in anything:
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ:
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart:
His wounds have paid my ransom.
and his kingdom rules over all.
Praise the LORD, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the LORD, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the LORD, O my soul
Psalm 103: 19-22 image by Faith Goble
Monday, September 27, 2010
posted September 27, 2010
Pastors may be the most well-known, loneliest men on the face of the earth. Friendship is a vital part of New Testament ministry and leadership. Without quality, biblical friendships, we are modeling a flawed Christian lifestyle for our church members. Yet, for many, the difficulties of pastoral friendships outweigh the benefits.
Most pastors find themselves in an unhealthy relationship where their wife is their only friend and counselor. If a pastor continues to project his problems onto his wife, she will grow disillusioned and desperate to leave the ministry. I believe a pastor’s wife should be his best friend, but she should not be his only friend.
In my 30 years of ministry, I have learned that every pastor needs at least four types of friends:
The Developer... The Designer...
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Prayer projects faith on God, and God on the world. Only God can move mountains, but faith and prayer move God. In His cursing of the fig-tree our Lord demonstrated His power. Following that, He proceeded to declare, that large powers were committed to faith and prayer, not in order to kill but to make alive, not to blast but to bless. ...EM Bounds image
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Raymond and I took a lovely walk along Onondaga Lake Park this past Sunday afternoon. The skyscapes were stunning and this picture does not adequately reflect how beautiful it was. The older I get, the more I appreciate the Lord's creation and how impossible it is to believe that it is all just happy random chance. (Photo: Raymond Dague)
"Ironically, the picture of the universe bequeathed to us by the most advanced twentieth-century science is closer in spirit to the vision presented in...Genesis than anything offered by science since Copernicus." - Patrick Glynn, former atheist and author of God: The Evidence
Monday, September 20, 2010
By Mark D. Roberts,
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
praise him with strings and flutes! Psalm 150:4
Worship crankiness. As a pastor, I've dealt with it for years. As a worshiper, I struggle with it.
What is worship crankiness? It's engaging in worship that is meant for God's glory but getting stuck in grumpiness. It's when the choir is off-key, the sermon is under par, the praise music is too loud, and you just get grouchy. Rather than focusing on God, you end up worrying about the things that bug you in the worship service. Instead of giving yourself to God in humble worship, you end up preoccupied by yourself and your frustrations.
You know you're infected with worship crankiness if you continually find yourself bothered by things in worship that, in the end, really aren't that important. Or you know you've got the bug if your comments after a worship service tend to be critical rather than reflective of your relationship with God.
In my experience, worship crankiness often has to do with music. Some folks get bugged when musical quality is low. Many become irritable when the genre of worship music is not to their liking. If you're a hymn person, you get cranky when you're supposed to sing praise songs. If you prefer contemporary music, you want to fold your arms and frown if you have to sing hymns led by an organ. And so it goes, week in, week out. the rest image
The more we seek God's glory, the less we will be focused on our personal likes and dislikes in worship. The more we focus on giving ourselves to God, the less we will be preoccupied with ourselves and our feelings. The more we remember God's greatness, the more we will want him to be praised with every instrument, every voice, every genre, and every person.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
O be persuaded to hide yourself in Christ Jesus! What greater assurance of safety can you desire? He has undertaken to defend and save you, if you will come to him: he looks upon it as his work; he engaged in it before the world was, and he has given his faithful promise which he will not break; and if you will but make your flight there, his life shall be for yours; he will answer for you, you shall have nothing to do but rest quietly in him; you may stand still and see what the Lord will do for you. ...Jonathan Edwards photo
Here was an exercise, on the part of this blessed woman, of three powers of her being: her memory—she kept all these things; her affections—she kept them in her heart; her intellect—she pondered them; so that memory, affection, and understanding, were all exercised about the things which she had heard. Beloved, remember what you have heard of your Lord Jesus, and what He has done for you; make your heart the golden pot of manna to preserve the memorial of the heavenly bread whereon you have fed in days gone by. Let your memory treasure up everything about Christ which you have either felt, or known, or believed, and then let your fond affections hold Him fast for evermore. Love the person of your Lord! Bring forth the alabaster box of your heart, even though it be broken, and let all the precious ointment of your affection come streaming on His pierced feet. Let your intellect be exercised concerning the Lord Jesus. Meditate upon what you read: stop not at the surface; dive into the depths. Be not as the swallow which toucheth the brook with her wing, but as the fish which penetrates the lowest wave.
Abide with your Lord: let Him not be to you as a wayfaring man, that tarrieth for a night, but constrain Him, saying, "Abide with us, for the day is far spent." Hold Him, and do not let Him go. The word "ponder, ' means to weigh. Make ready the balances of judgment. Oh, but where are the scales that can weigh the Lord Christ? "He taketh up the isles as a very little thing:"—who shall take Him up? "He weigheth the mountains in scales"—in what scales shall we weigh Him? Be it so, if your understanding cannot comprehend, let your affections apprehend; and if your spirit cannot compass the Lord Jesus in the grasp of understanding, let it embrace Him in the arms of affection. ...CH Spurgeon photo
In all moods and in all seasons pour out the soul in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, and if the Spirit groans in intercession do not be afraid of the agony of prayer. There are blessings of the Kingdom that are only yielded to the violence of the vehement soul. Bruce Wilkinson Photo
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
the light, O Jesus, will be all from You;
none of it will be mine:
Let me preach You without preaching,
To love what I ought to love,
To praise what delights thee most,
To value what is precious in thy sight,
To hate what is offensive to thee.
Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,
Nor to pass sentence according to the hearing
of the ears of ignorant men;
But to discern with a true judgment
And above all, always to inquire
Thomas a Kempis (1380-1472)
O God, that I may hear
Thy voice calling me
to high endeavor.
Give me an open mind,
O God, a mind ready to receive and to welcome such new light of knowledge as it is Thy will to reveal to me.
Give me open eyes, O God, eyes quick to discover
Thine indwelling in the world
which Thou hast made.
Give me open hands, O God, hands ready to share with all who are in want the blessings with which Thou hast enriched my life. ... John Baillie
We are often in a religious hurry in our devotions. How much time do we spend in them daily? Can it not be easily reckoned in minutes? Who ever knew an eminently holy man who did not spend much of his time in prayer? Did ever a man exhibit much of the spirit of prayer, who did not devote much time in his closet?
Whitefield says, "Whole days and weeks have I spent prostrate on the ground, in silent or vocal prayer." "Fall upon your knees and grow there," is the language of another, who knew whereof he affirmed.
It has been said that no great work in literature or science was ever wrought by a man who did not love solitude. We may lay it down as an elemental principle of religion, that no large growth in holiness was ever gained by one who did not take time to be often, and long, alone with God. --The Still Hour
"'Come, come,' He saith, 'O soul oppressed and weary,
Come to the shadows of my desert rest;
Come walk with Me far from life's babbling discords,
And peace shall breathe like music in thy breast.'"
Streams in the Desert photo
To shake the soul and let the glory out.
When the great oak is straining in the wind,
The boughs drink in new beauty, and the trunk
Sends down a deeper root on the windward side.
Only the soul that knows the mighty grief
Can know the mighty rapture. Sorrows come
to stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.
...Edwin Markham photo
image by Alex Proimos
Notwithstanding what you have been told in the past or what you may feel in the present, when God thinks about you, feels for you, and sees you, He opens His mouth and sings with inexpressible joy! God's love for you is so infinitely intense that He quite literally sings for joy. The depth of His affection is such that mere words prove paltry and inadequate. So profoundly intimate is God's devotion to you that He bursts forth in sacred song. I'm talking about you. That's right, you, not just all the other people reading this article. I'm talking about each and every one of you who is convinced that no matter how many times I tell you God loves you, still you imagine He must have someone else in mind. No, He has you in mind. ...Sam Storms image by Nicola
...CS Lewis image
The members of Christ's Church should be very prayerful, always seeking the unction of the Holy One to rest upon their hearts, that the kingdom of Christ may come, and that His "will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven;" but there are times when God seems especially to favour Zion, such seasons ought to be to them like "the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees." We ought then to be doubly prayerful, doubly earnest, wrestling more at the throne than we have been wont to do. Action should then be prompt and vigorous. The tide is flowing—now let us pull manfully for the shore. O for Pentecostal outpourings and Pentecostal labours. Christian, in yourself there are times "when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees." You have a peculiar power in prayer; the Spirit of God gives you joy and gladness; the Scripture is open to you; the promises are applied; you walk in the light of God's countenance; you have peculiar freedom and liberty in devotion, and more closeness of communion with Christ than was your wont. Now, at such joyous periods when you hear the "sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees," is the time to bestir yourself; now is the time to get rid of any evil habit, while God the Spirit helpeth your infirmities. ...CH Spurgeon image
...RC Sproul image
...Madame Jeanne Guyon image by Kevin Dooley
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.