Monday, June 29, 2009

The Worst Crime

Recently, Tim Challies quoted R. C. Sproul, who reminds us that we are debtors, enemies and criminals.

Tim wrote, that Sproul shows how

it is always the Father who has been offended and the Son who intercedes. We have committed crimes against God and are, thus, justly termed criminals. The Father stands as Judge, passing the just sentence of death. But Christ stands between us and the Father, acting as substitute. Our sin puts us in debt to God so that we are debtors to Him. God is the creditor who demands repayment, but Christ stands in as surety. And sin puts us at enmity with God, making us His enemies. He has been violated by our sin, but Christ intercedes as mediator, opening the way between man and God.

Sproul breaks this down into the following simple table:

Sin As…ManGodChrist
EnmityEnemyViolated OneMediator

Christ, by His work on the cross, satisfied the demands of God’s justice with regard to our debt, our state of enmity, and our crime.

NO wonder we needed a Saviour.

And what a Saviour. Linda was thinking of this the other day. She wrote about it on her blog, Treasured Wretch.

She was thinking of the great crime of shedding THE MOST INNOCENT BLOOD of Christ. Who had to pay for that crime?

Why, Jesus!

The injustice of His death was laid upon His own shoulders!

Amazing grace! What a Saviour! He is the Prophet, Priest and King, and so much more. He is our Mediator, our Surety, our Substitute. He stands before the Judge, pleading our case...and He wins, every time! We stand there, undone, without hope, because we know we are guilty of the WORST CRIME - shedding the innocent, pure blood of the King of kings and Lord of lords. In awe we watch Him step forward and say, "I paid this one's debt!" And we are free. Free from debt - the debt that we owed. Free from crime - the life of a criminal that we lived. Free from being the Enemy of God - although we deserved His enmity.

Free to worship, free to serve, free to bow down, free to live a life in awe of the ONE TRUE GOD.

We're free, because of Christ. He paid the price. He paid it all.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Let Her Celebrate

Grafted Branch from the Blog "Restoring the Years" has written a beautiful, contemplative poem. It starts like this:

Let the mother of many celebrate her numbers
and glory in the ornaments which decorate her life.
Let her not be swayed by the scoffers,
nor riled by the ignorant.
Let compassion be her way
and humility guide her thinking.
Let her pin her badge of many blessings
to her breast and be known
for what the Lord God has called her to do.

But what about the mother of some, or one, or none?

Go here to read the rest of the poem!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why is one life spared, and not another?

Yesterday in Guelph, a 14 year old girl died when an interior wall of a public washroom collapsed in on her.

A 14-year-old up-and-coming diver is dead after an interior wall in a Southend Community Park washroom collapsed yesterday.

Isabel Warren was a member of the Etobicoke Diving Club. Recently, she qualified for the Speedo Junior National Championships on the one metre, three metre, and tower. She was to head to Victoria on July 9 to compete at the championships.

Yesterday, the Grade 9 Bishop Macdonell student was in the washroom during an outdoor physical education class when a cinder block wall fell onto her at about 12:30 p.m.

She was rushed to hospital where she succumbed to what Wellington District Catholic School Board superintendent Larry Clifford called "substantial injuries."

One of my church friends wrote to me, confused. She said,

"Just 1 minute before the wall collapsed, our little 2 year old granddaughter was in the bathroom with her other grandma. They passed each other going in and out. We thank God that our granddaughter is safe, but mourn for the young girl who died. Why is one little life spared and another young life taken?"

Luke 13:1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus, in this passage, is bringing up two incidents that had puzzled the people living at that time. Both were tragedies.

In the first instance, Pilate killed some Galileans who were offering sacrifices - they were in the middle of WORSHIP! This would be similar to a gunman coming into our church and shooting us down. It would be a terrible thing to live through, and it would shake the people to their core.

The second occasion was the fall of the tower in Siloam. Eighteen people died. They could have been young or old, rich or poor. Perhaps some of them were religious leaders, and others may have been women or children. It doesn't matter.

Do you think . . . that these. . . were worse sinners . . . ?? Jesus' rhetorical question reflects a popular view that tragedies and physical ailments were due to personal sin. His answer (No) denies any such connection in this case.

Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Though Jesus regularly has compassion on those who suffer, here he draws a broader lesson: this tragic event is a warning that final judgment is coming to the entire world.

Every time something like this happens, we are reminded that life is but a vapour. We are reminded that we are not in control.

I wrote to my friend,

The truth is that we are not in control of our lives. Our days are numbered by God, who does all things well. I am so glad for you, that God spared your little granddaughter, and sorry for the family that lost their precious 14 year old daughter. The spiritual lesson is this: we must repent, and turn to God. We don't have forever. We do not know when we will take our last breath!

I do pray that God will use the death of this young girl to cause many to repent and turn to Him.

I am not saying that we have to have all the answers, or know exactly why God does what He does. Sometimes we look around and simply cannot fathom why God allows certain tragedies, or permits certain tyrannies. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote in his book, Faith on Trial - Studies in Psalm 73,

"Why is it that God allows certain forms of tyranny to persist, especially those that are absolutely godless? Why does He not wipe them all out, and shower His blessings upon His own people? That is our way of thinking. But it is based on a fallacy. God's mind is eternal, and God's ways are so infinitely above us that we must always start by being prepared not to understand immediately everything He does."

"...Perpexity in this matter is not only not surprising; I want to emphasize that to be perplexed is not sinful either. There, again, is something that is very comforting....Ah yes, it is wrong to be in a state of despair; but it is not wrong to be perplexed. Let us draw this clear distinction; the mere fact that you may be perplexed about something that is happening at the present time does not mean that you are guilty of sin. You are in God's hand, and yet something unpleasant is happening to you, and you say: I do not understand. There is nothing wrong with that - 'perplexed, but not in despair'. The perplexity in and of itself is not sinful, for our minds are not only finite, they are also weakened by sin. We do not see things clearly; we do not know what is best for us; we cannot take the long view; so it is very natural that we should be perplexed."

We may be perplexed, confused, uncertain. That's okay. We do not have to understand it all. What we must do is to bring our thinking in line with the truth of God's word. It's okay to be confused. It's okay to not understand. And it is infinitely okay to REST in the One who is never confused, and understands all things.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Internet Monk - Big Worship Goof

The Internet Monk has posted regarding the attitude of evangelical Christians regarding worship in the churches of today. Led by the Christian music industry, churches now have dropped the "old ways" in favour of the new. The Monk writes,

"Worship has now become a musical term. Praise and worship means music. Let’s worship means the band will play. We need to give more time to worship doesn’t mean silent prayer or public scripture reading or any kind of participatory liturgy. It means music."

Christians used to know the meaning of "worship". Look carefully at the following definitions:

Easton's Bible Dictionary

Homage rendered to God which it is sinful (idolatry) to render to any created being (Exodus 34:14; Isaiah 2:8). Such worship was refused by Peter (Acts 10:25, 26) and by an angel (Revelation 22:8, 9).

Noah Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language

1. (a.) Excellence of character; dignity; worth; worthiness.

2. (a.) Honor; respect; civil deference.

3. (a.) Hence, a title of honor, used in addresses to certain magistrates and others of rank or station.

4. (n.) The act of paying divine honors to the Supreme Being; religious reverence and homage; adoration, or acts of reverence, paid to God, or a being viewed as God.

5. (a.) Obsequious or submissive respect; extravagant admiration; adoration.

6. (n.) An object of worship.

7. (v. t.) To respect; to honor; to treat with civil reverence.

8. (v. t.) To pay divine honors to; to reverence with supreme respect and veneration; to perform religious exercises in honor of; to adore; to venerate.

9. (v. t.) To honor with extravagant love and extreme submission, as a lover; to adore; to idolize.

10. (v. i.) To perform acts of homage or adoration; esp., to perform religious service.

Worship is simply ascribing the worth of Someone. True worship is reverencing and honouring and venerating and adoring the God who deserves all praise.

True worship happens at a funeral service, when a bereaved Dad acknowledges that God is good, no matter what, even in the loss of his beautiful daughter.

True worship happens when a young man plays soccer with a poverty-stricken boy in a third world country, because he knows that skin colour matters not...but that God made us all in His image.

True worship happens when a missionary travels to the far reaches of the world, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and exulting in the Holy Spirit's work in the lives of indigenous people.

True worship is a morning cup of coffee on the patio, rejoicing in the singing birds, the rustling leaves, the whispy clouds, the knickering of a horse - and acknowledging the Creator who designed it all.

True worship includes music. But it is not only music. Go back and click on the cartoon, and read what internet Monk has to say. What do you think?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Terrible Nature of the Tongue

Pastor Bob opened his sermon today with an illustration of just how devastating wrong communication can be. He told the story of how the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1899 began. He got his information from a book, James:Faith that Works, by R. Kent Hughes.

Four reporters were having trouble coming up with a good story for the morning newspaper. They decided to fabricate a tale, and the next day's headlines screamed, "GREAT CHINESE WALL DOOMED!" The Chinese people were furious, and in a short time, the Boxer Rebellion began - resulting in the deaths of over 100,000 people, many of them missionaries.

In 2005, English Professor Henry Hart released a book, Lost in the Gobi Desert, to commemorate his great-grandfather's efforts to save the life of western missionaries and their Chinese followers from the hands of the Boxer rebels.

The murderous Boxer Rebellion came as a sudden thunderstorm; all foreigners were to be killed not in the sudden merciful death of a bullet but sliced to death by big, old rusty knives and swords.... I had an old Winchester rifle and plenty of ammunition ready for the journey....The Boxer uprising ultimately claimed the lives of more than 32,000 Chinese Christians and several hundred foreign missionaries (historian Nat Brandt called it “the greatest single tragedy in the history of Christian evangelicalism[9]

Thousands of people died because four men, in a drunken stupor, decided to make up a story and spread it around the world.

The text for the sermon today was James 3,

Taming the Tongue

3 c Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

The first introductory point was that we ought to take our teaching responsibility very seriously. Whether we're homeschooling parents, or lead a small group, or simply interact with others God brings into our lives, we ought to be very careful what we say, and what we teach. Life or death proceeds from our lips, and we will be held accountable.

Powerful Nature of the Tongue

The horse is a great and powerful animal, weighing nearly 1,000 lbs, yet it can be controlled by a very small bit. Look up descriptions of the power of the horse in Job 39:19 - 25, which begins, “Do you give the horse his might?Do you clothe his neck with a mane?". The horse laughs at fear, and is not dismayed...yet he allows himself to be directed by a tiny piece of metal.

In the same way, we need to control our tongues, realizing the power they have to kill and destroy, or to make alive and encourage.

The Bismarck was a powerful ship, the pride of the German navy. Yet one small torpedo took out its rudder, leaving the mighty battleship crippled.

Our lives can be ruined, too, by words - our own, or others'.

Destructive Nature of the Tongue

One small spark can set an entire forest ablaze. Flora and fauna are destroyed, all because of a tiny flash.

The whole body, the whole course of life, can be set on fire by the destructive nature of the tongue. A few cruel words can rip apart churches, families, or ministries. We must be careful not to open our mouths to criticize the personal, private affairs of others.

Do you use innuendo? Do you use comments that are of a disparaging, derogatory nature?

Illustration: The captain of a ship wrote in the log, "Ship's Mate drunk today." The Ship's Mate noticed, and let it go...but a few months later, he wrote, "Captain sober today." It was the truth, but what did it imply?

Do you use gossip? Flattery? You should be sincere and full of integrity!

Do you use discernment? Or do you criticize, find fault with someone; do you harass them when you don't agree with their choices? Do you nit-pick?

Illustration: A man who had gossipped about a close friend tried to make amends. His friend forgave him, but told him to go to the tower and take his feather pillow. When he got there, he was told to slice the pillow open with a sharp knife, releasing the feathers to the wind. He did so, then went back to his friend, who said, "Now, go and gather all the feathers!"

"Impossible!" insisted the gossip.

"In the same way, it is impossible to repair the damage caused by the gossip."

Words can destroy lives. People have gone through life crippled, because of unkind or vicious words.

Untamable Nature of the Tongue

It's a restless evil, full of deadly poison. This ought not to be so. It goes from bad to worse: the tongue is powerful, destructive, untamable... so what are we to do? WE cannot do anything of our own accord, for too often we use our tongue for evil rather than for good.

Diabolical Nature of the Tongue

With the same tongue we praise the Lord and curse people made in His image. This ought not to be so.

We must cast ourselves on Jesus, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells us to enable us to use our tongues for good.

Good Uses of the Tongue

Speeches that changed the course of history have been a force for good. Winston Churchill's famous speech inspired his countrymen at a time when the forces of evil were spreading throughout the continent of Europe.

We shall not flag nor fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God's good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old. .

Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired the United States of America, and indeed the watching world, to fight for freedom and equality of opportunity for all races.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

Tongue Control


Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

The tongue can be used for good. The tongue of the wise is a tree of life, it builds up, it commends knowledge, it is aware that the Lord is watching.

Proverbs 25:11
A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
12 Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold
is a wise reprover to a listening ear.

Wise reproof is beautiful. The right word spoken at just the right time is a treasure - like gold in settings of silver.

Wisdom comes from above. James 3:17 - 18 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

How wise have you been in your reproof lately? Have you spoken carefully, with discernment? Have you been peaceable, gentle, open to reason? Have you been full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere?

Without the filling of the Holy Spirit and the trusting in His power, the tongue is a restless evil. Yet God can and does redeem it, and uses it for His glory.


Proverbs 12:17-18
Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
but a false witness utters deceit.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

We all have a ministry, whether it is in our homes, or churches; whether it is public, on a message board, or private, with close friends or family. In your ministry, do you bring healing, or are your words like sword thrusts, cutting and carving up others for your own selfish reasons?


Psalm 35
Let those who delight in my righteousness
shout for joy and be glad
and say evermore,
“Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all the day long.

This is the best use of the tongue! Shout for Joy! Say evermore, GREAT IS THE LORD! We'll be shouting the praise of God all the day long for all of eternity.

I can't wait!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Letter from a Dad to his kids

Dan Cummings is more alive than any of us here on this earth. He passed from this present world to the next in February, 2009. His letter to his children is so significant, so weighty, so important, that I urge you to read it.

There is something `other worldly` about those Christians who know they will soon be dying. They have one foot here on earth, and one in heaven.

Frequent readers of my blog will notice that I have focussed much on those Christians who have died and gone before us, or are in the process of dying. That`s because the message is of ultimate importance: YOU ARE DYING! I don`t care if you`re in your teens or in your fifties, like I am. This life is but a vapour, and will soon be over. You`d better start preparing for the next life.

One of my favourite puritan Pastors is Richard Baxter. He was a pastor in the 1600`s, who battled illness his entire adult life. He never was sure he would wake up the next morning, his health was so precarious.

Reflecting poetically on the urgency and centrality of preaching, the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter once remarked, "I preach as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men." With vivid expression and a sense of gospel gravity, Baxter understood that preaching is literally a life or death affair.

I, too, understand that preaching is a life or death affair. I am not a preacher, per se, but my life speaks volumes. The Bible makes it clear that my life is a living epistle... a book for others to read.

So, I plead with you. If you do not know Jesus as your personal Saviour and the Lord of your life, seek Him. If you do, but you are living each day in the `here and now`, with no view to the future, wake up. Our days vanish like a breath. (Read Psalm 78.)

Go back to the top of this post, click on the link to the letter from Dan Cummings to his children, and ponder.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm losing my mind.

One of the terms I struggle with from time to time is "like-minded". It makes me think of an exclusive club, where everyone thinks along the same lines.

Christ's Example of Humility


2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


I have to admit that sometimes I am confused by the term ``like-minded``, because I think it means a certain way of life, a certain set of rules, a certain set of values, etc. I sometimes feel on the outside of the ``like-minded`` group, simply because I don`t enjoy the term. It conjures up a whole set of memories from my past, when our family was in a very strict church with standards and rules and regulations, but devoid of grace.

If those who use the term `like-minded` are referring to having the same mind as it is described in the Scriptures, then I believe that MOST of us who call ourselves Christians are like-minded. We are to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:2 ) and we are to be transformed (to godliness) by the renewal of our mind.

Romans 12:2

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.

The Holy Spirit indwells us and transforms us by the renewal of our minds. Jerry Bridges calls this, "preaching the gospel to yourself". Rachel Barkey says, "Talk to yourself". Don't listen to yourself. Speak the words of truth to yourself in every situation.

1 Corinthians 1:10 Divisions in the Church

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

We are of the same mind. We love and serve the Lord God, who sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the propitiation for our sins. That means Jesus took the wrath of God against unholiness, the wrath WE deserved, on Himself, and in exchange, He gave us, as a free gift HIS righteousness. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and we seek to live a life of godliness.

Where we may differ is in the living out of that godly life. We may choose to DO things in our families that others would not choose. Or we may choose to NOT do things in our families that others feel quite comfortable doing.

Romans 14:5

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

The truth is that we are all learning and growing in the Lord. Our Heavenly Father is conforming us to the image of His dear Son. He is moulding us, shaping us, pruning us, leading us...each of us - in our own families, in our own homes, in our own countries. God is leading.

God is also using us to be living epistles.

(2 Cor. 3:2, 3 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.)
My life, because I am a Christian, is a living epistle, read by others. So, God is using me to be an example, just as He is using all of you. Each of us is an epistle, and each of us is reading the other living epistles God puts in our path day by day.

God the Holy Spirit INDWELLS His children. Let`s not take that for granted. We are the temple of the living God, and we need to live in the Light, in the wonder, in the beauty of the glory of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit indwells man. Astounding!

We all need to live in step with the Spirit.

(Ephesians 5:18) The fruit of the Spirit should be evident in our lives. As people who have God dwelling in them, the people of God ought to live lives of purity.

Rick is teaching through the book of 1 John, which says in Chapter 2,

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.

We are not supposed to sin. The Bible says `Be ye holy, for I am holy`.

But we do. John goes on to say, But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Do you see that? We ought not to sin, but if we do (and it is supposed that we will) we have an advocate with the Father. Praise God! Jesus is the Righteous one Who is the propitiation for our sins. John goes on to say,

3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

How we walk matters to God. What we do matters.

However, the whole point of the book of 1 John is this: the most important thing is love. If we say we are Christians, walking in the light, but have not love, the truth is not in us.

The greatest commandment is this: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength...and the second greatest is love your neighbour as yourself.

God has Sovereignly ordained that each of the people in your life is there. He knows that some will agree, and disagree; that we will learn, and teach; that we will befriend one another, and sometimes even meet each other in real life. God is using our interactions to help us be refined.

Sometimes, the refinement isn`t easy. As iron sharpens iron... sparks fly.

However, the truth is, we are being refined as we write our letters and notes, as we pray for one another, as we interact with each other.

1 Corinthians 2:12-13 "Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual."

1 Corinthians 2:16 - ""For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ."

So I guess it's okay if I lose my long as it's being renewed. May we be ultimately like-minded, as we have the mind of Christ.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, “Wait.”
“Wait? you say wait?” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.
“My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.
“You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking! I need a reply.”
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, “Wait.”
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting for what?”
He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.
“I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You’d have what you want, but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of my love for each saint.
You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.
“You’d not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there.
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.
“You’d never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
“The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.
“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I’m doing in you.
“So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait.”

Monday, June 1, 2009

Our Attitude toward suffering

Our Attitude toward suffering

In light of what Jesus has done, what is a little suffering in this life? Not to discount it, but we should always keep that in our minds. We deserved much worse. How dare we question God? How dare we question He who sent His Only Begotten Son to die in our place?

2 Thessalonians 1:5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—

We are to suffer for the kingdom of God. We need to accept suffering, and glorify God in our suffering. We must keep in mind first that suffering will come, and next that our suffering is for a purpose.

Job 2:10 10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”...

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

We are not greater than Jesus, and He suffered; We should suffer more so. We should always consider the suffering of Jesus whenever we suffer, because we deserve far greater suffering than what we endure.

We must try whether we can endure brow-beating, weariness, slander, jeering, and hardship; and whether we can be made the off -scouring of all things, and be treated as nothing for Christ's sake. If we can endure all these, we have some of those points which indicate the possession of the rare qualities which should meet in a true servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

~ Lectures To My Students C.H Spurgeon.[1]

The Christian life is not a get out of jail free card. "If you believe in Jesus you will have no more problems." The seeker friendly Jesus is not the one in the word of God. Rather, we are called into a state of suffering.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

We are going to suffer more as Christians. We are to be in the world, not of the world. The world should hate you.

1 Peter 2:19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Not all suffering is suffering for Jesus' sake. It is a good thing to suffer for Jesus' sake, not to suffer needlessly. There isn't any credit for suffering because we sinned. You should not attribute all the suffering in your life as suffering for Jesus. But you should know that all suffering is suffering for a good end.

1 Tim. 4:10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.

Expect and welcome suffering when it comes, and endure with thanksgiving. Not only will trials surely come to a Christian, but we are to rejoice through them. Expect suffering, because we live in a fallen world. Remember though, that God will never send you a trial because He enjoys watching you suffer. He is not a capricious god, like the "gods" of the Greeks or Romans, who enjoyed tripping up the mortals and causing them pain. God loves us, and uses our suffering for good.

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

God makes us perfect through trial. It is like exercising your muscles; you are in fact tearing them in order to build them up. We should rejoice, and accept whatever God gives us, whether it's trials or good things.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

God always provides a way to endure. He never brings us a trial that is impossible to endure.

Accept suffering from God, for it is a good thing. All things, including suffering, work together for good for those who love God;

For me, suffering is still that jackhammer breaking apart my rocks of resistance every day. It's still the chisel that God is using to chip away at my self-sufficiency and my self-motivation and my self-consumption. ~ Suffering and the Sovereignty of God - John Piper[2]

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

We are to rejoice in our trials.

1 Peter 1:6 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 honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Our faith is tested and perfected by fire. We are to welcome suffering, and praise God in it, for He is refining us, perfecting us.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

We are to strive, knowing that it is God who works in us. (Phil. 3:8-9) Remember that this life is but a vapour, a shadow of things to come. After we suffer this little while God will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

We are to look toward the prize set before us. And it will be so much greater than the good things of this world. Your suffering is temporal, your reward is eternal. We are to strive, in faith through trials, for His glory.

Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.


Suffering is not a bad thing. We can hold onto the truth that God has a good plan and a good purpose for our suffering.

Knowing the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God in suffering does not mean we can go up to people who are going through a tragedy and tell them this. It is something for us to know personally. Then, in His time, God will use the things we have suffered to refine us, to bring good things, to help those who are suffering through similar trials.

I know that I will suffer, and when I do, I pray that our Lord will bring my attitude back into conformity with His word. I pray that I will remember that my suffering is temporary, but will produce a far greater glory. God is Sovereign over Suffering, and it will end.

Matthew 10:22 and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.


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[1] Lectures To My Students, Lecture II The Call To Ministry - C.H Spurgeon p. 38-39

[2]~ Suffering and the Sovereignty of God - John Piper