Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Solitary Morality

I absolutely loved this from Charles Spurgeon, May 8th, 1870...sentence one summed up my adolescent years...
"If a man sees a thing to be law, he wants to break that law; our nature is so evil, that forbid us to do a thing, and at once we want to do the thing that is forbidden, and in many minds the principle of law, instead of leading to purity has even offered opportunities for greater impurity. Beside, although you may point out the way of uprightness to a man, and tell him what is right, and what is wrong with all the wisdom and force of counsel and caution, unless you can give him a heart to choose the right, and a heart to love the true, you have not done much for him. This is just the province of law. It can write out its precepts on the bronze tablets, and it can brandish its fiery sword and say, “Do this, or else be punished,” but man, carnal man, only wraps himself the more closely in his self-conceit, and perseveres the more doggedly in his obstinate rebellion! He defies God, defers to his own reprobate mind, goes on in sin, and waxes worse and worse, knowing the judgment threatened, yet committing the transgressions prohibited. And he takes pleasure in those who do such things as his companions; because of the malignity, as well as the infirmity of our flesh, the mere principle of law will never do anything to purify or ennoble our moral nature. It has been tried by eminent teachers, and social reformers. Dr. Chalmers tells us that in his early ministry he used to preach morality, and nothing but morality till, he said, he had hardly a sober or an honest man left in the parish! The preaching of morality seemed to lead to immorality; something more is needed than merely to din into men’s ears what they ought to be, and what they ought to do; something is needed more effectually to renovate the heart, and move the springs of action. The water is nothing, and if you make it flow it is bitter; you need an ingredient to be cast into it that will heal its poison springs, and make them sweet and clear."

The sermon goes on and points to the fulfillment of the Law, Christ himself (Romans 10:4). He himself is worth celebrating.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Encouragement for LIVE13

For those going through LIVE13, I am guessing if you are like me you could use some encouragement. I remembered this song from years ago...It seems generally applicable as I deal with anger and every other sin that I need to confess and forsake (that have oddly arisen this week!). This is an encouragement for anyone who the grace of God is unwinding and teaching (Titus 2:11-12)...Though the synthesizer intro is a bit much, Wayne's voice and the gospel truth of God listing his people as a priority for rescue and redemption keep me humming this one...

It's Time by Wayne Watson

It happened many years ago
The memories still haunt you though
And who's to blame you really don't know
You're just locked all alone in these chains
Some times it's hard to live at all
The pictures of your history call
Your mind's a decorated wall
But the Lord has the cure for your pain

It's time, come back to the land of the living
Come home to the land of the forgiving
Jesus will be faithful to the end
It's time, break the tangled webs that bind you
Let the grace of God unwind you
Give the Lord your broken heart to mend
It's's time

You've had your little victories
But perfection's pretty hard to please
And guilt is an annoying breeze
That blows all that's peaceful away
And life is too short
To go on living like this
Or to brood over who's done you wrong
If the years pass you by
Look at all that you'll miss
You've been walking in shadows too long


Shine in Darkness...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What is up with Amsoil?

So, my brother says he has a product that will knock your socks off in regards to oil changes. I'm a sucker, so I bite. It's called Amsoil. I bought a case and tried it in my van.

Now I have a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country and I am no fan of changing oil.  Even moreso I dislike taking a car into a shop to have it's oil changed. When something is inconvenient, I try to do it well so I don't have to revisit too often. This is exactly why I love Amsoil's 25,000 mile oil change. Upon finishing the oil change, I said, "See you in 2015, baby!" I was sure to mark the mileage...and I have been checking the level regularly. All is still well.

Before I took the dive, I did a bit of research. I did find that this stuff rates out as the best on the market. Those are independent studies, I would like to add. It's really good stuff. But I couldn't understand why people haven't heard of Amsoil yet...

My guess is that more people would use it if it weren't for the multi-level marketing/lack of advertising of Amsoil. That AND the fact that there name sounds a bit like AMWAY--which, thankfully there is no connection. Nevertheless, their website seems to indicate that they are graduating from that type of marketing because you can purchase it online and not through a wholesaler (like my bro). Kudos to them, they certainly have a superior product, which should warrant better advertising.

As for the Sienna with higher miles, it gets regular oil. It would be a different case if it were younger in it's life cycle and not accustomed to the non synthetic oil, which is serving it fine. Amsoil is about the same price as your higher end synthetic oil you get at Autozone, so I do prefer to use it wisely.

So there you go. Amsoil: Official Oil sponsor of my van. And now you KNOW that. SID.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Calvin's Institutes...

...are now $.99 on Amazon. I just bought my copy and think this will be the only way I ever read the Institutes.  Just in time, because I finally finished the Hobbit. I just wanted to spread the word...Grace and Peace all.  SID.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Escaping Emotional Fragility

My pastor, Mark Vroegop, preached on Colossians 1:9-14 this weekend and relayed the story of Charles Simeon's life. One of the themes of Simeon's life was handling opposition and suffering. John Piper, a few years back, wrote a biographical sketch on Simeon, and I pass this on because it is like rare coinage:
What I have found – and this is what I want to be true for you as well – is that in my pastoral disappointments and discouragements there is a great power for perseverance in keeping before me the life of a man who surmounted great obstacles in obedience to God's call by the power of God's grace. I need very much this inspiration from another age, because I know that I am, in great measure, a child of my times. And one of the pervasive marks of our times is emotional fragility. I feel it as though it hung in the air we breathe. We are easily hurt. We pout and mope easily. We break easily. Our marriages break easily. Our faith breaks easily. Our happiness breaks easily. And our commitment to the church breaks easily. We are easily disheartened, and it seems we have little capacity for surviving and thriving in the face of criticism and opposition. 
A typical emotional response to trouble in the church is to think, "If that's the way they feel about me, then they can find themselves another pastor." We see very few models today whose lives spell out in flesh and blood the rugged words, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various trials" (James 1:3). When historians list the character traits of the last third of twentieth century America, commitment, constancy, tenacity, endurance, patience, resolve and perseverance will not be on the list. The list will begin with an all-consuming interest in self-esteem. It will be followed by the subheadings of self-assertiveness, and self-enhancement, and self-realization. And if you think that you are not at all a child of your times just test yourself to see how you respond in the ministry when people reject your ideas. 
We need help here. When you are surrounded by a society of emotionally fragile quitters, and when you see a good bit of this ethos in yourself, you need to spend time with people – whether dead of alive – whose lives prove there is another way to live. Scripture says, "Be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:12). So I want to hold up for you the faith and the patience of Charles Simeon for your inspiration and imitation.
Charles Simeon: You can learn a lot from guys who are tough and dead 

I would surmise that emotional fragility is so rampant that it affects us like breathing in undetected chemicals. We all need to be mindful of how it zaps the strength and grace God gives us, much like a thief siphoning gasoline. The article and sermon were good reminders to spend some time with tough people and to become as tough as the grace of God will allow you to become on planet earth. Remember, the grace of God can be a tough thing. But tough isn't bad or wrong and tough can be satisfying and fulfilling. My pastor routinely says something similar, except is sounds wiser and more pithy coming from him:). Piper's transcript is here, read the whole thing. Tolle legge. TSID.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tying Ties

An absolute must.  I only know how to tie a full Windsor, but this is helpful...

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Exactly what is God the "God of"?

There is no doubt the God of the Bible is exactly who he says he is. But how do we inform ourselves of this? Through his Word, the Bible itself.  Therefore, it is time well spent to discover exactly what the Bible states God is the God of, using that exact "God of" word combination.

A Sovereign Lord of the Bible is the God of multiple finite things which we can have a freedom in mentioning. Those things could include internet communications, breakfast cereals and very small rocks (I had to throw that in!). Provided they are not said for comedic effect alone (Ahem), I have no problem with acknowledging these specific facts. God is certainly allowed to be God over ice cream cones, if it, in part, explains to a child how and what God has control of/over. But describing God based upon our solo thoughts outside of scripture is a foolish and self-imposed poverty. Furthermore, it is idolatry with the severest consequences (1 Kings 20:28). The Bible MUST inform our knowledge of God.

Describing God how the scripture defines him is the starting and ending point for any honorable description of Him. So, I used my search tools for the phrase "God of" in my ESV bible to discover precisely what God is the” God of”. Granted, there is other phraseology that does describe God in the Bible, but as I said, this is a decent starting point. Even though we cannot know all things of our limitless God, these results do tell us something of God's command and connection to his people. This effort was triggered by a study of Romans 15, which has three instances which God is "God of" that got my wheels turning. Of the over 400 instances, here are several noteworthies:

God is the God of Shem. (Genesis 9:26) (This is the first instance I stumbled across. God, indeed, is the God of many other individuals in the OT (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), but this was noteworthy because of it's location in scripture-which does not indicate preeminence here-and also an introduction to God's personal nature with his creation)
God is the God of seeing (Genesis 16:13)
God is the God of heaven and the God of earth (Genesis 24:3)
God is the God of Bethel (Genesis 31:13)
God is the God of my master Abraham (Genesis 24:12)
God is the God of Abraham your father (Genesis 26:24)
God is the God of my father (Genesis 31:5)
God is the God of your father (Genesis 31:29)
God is the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father (Genesis 31:53)
God is the God of your fathers (Exodus 3:13)
God is the God of the Hebrews (Exodus 3:18)
God is the God of their fathers (Exodus 4:5)
God is the God of Israel (Exodus 24:10)
God is the God of the spirits of all flesh (Numbers 16:22)
God is the God of gods (Deuteronomy 10:17)
God is the God of our fathers (Deuteronomy 26:7)
God is a God of faithfulness (Deuteronomy 32:4)
God is a God of knowledge (1 Samuel 2:3)
God is the God of the armies of Israel (1 Samuel 17:45)
God is the God of hosts (2 Samuel 5:10)
God is the God of Jacob (2 Samuel 23:1)
God is the God of my lord the king (1 Kings 1:36)
God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (1 Kings 18:36)
God is the God of David your father (2 Kings 20:5)
God is the God of our salvation (1 Chronicles 16:35)
God is the God of David your father (2 Chronicles 21:12)
God is the God of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:19)
God is the God of my righteousness (Psalm 4:1)
God is the God of my salvation (Psalm 18:46)
God is the God of glory (Psalm 29:3)
God is the God of my life (Psalm 42:8)
God is a God of salvation (Psalm 68:20)
God is the God of vengeance (Psalm 94:1)
God is the God of my praise (Psalm 109:1)
God is the God of your salvation (Isaiah 17:10)
God is the God of the whole earth (Isaiah 54:5)
God is the God of truth (Isaiah 65:16)
God is the God of all the clans of Israel (Jeremiah 31:1)
God is a God of recompense (Jeremiah 51:56)
God is the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:28)
God is the God of Daniel (Daniel 6:26)
God is the God of justice (Malachi 2:17)
God is the God of the living (Matthew 22:32)
God is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers (Acts 3:13)
God is the God of this people Israel (Acts 13:17)
God is the God of the Jews and the God of the Gentiles (Romans 3:29)
God is the God of endurance and encouragement (Romans 15:5)
God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13)
God is the God of peace (Romans 15:33)
God is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3)
God is the God of love and peace (2 Corinthians 13:11)
God is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:17)
God is the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10)
God is the God of the spirits of the prophets (Revelation 22:6)

This is quite a list that contains some wordy and Bibley words. God is the God of big and small things. God is the God of groups and individuals. God is the God of ideas and realities. He is the God of many things, yet a God of such specific things. It would seem that these variances are the point. God is the God of somethings, someones and somewheres because he is the God of everything, everyone and everywhere. Whatever else you notice, that fact would be tough to miss.

God is the God over all. We have to be careful to let our scriptural knowledge of him inform our experience, rather than the other way around. It's altogether right to defer to God's description of himself, not our ideas Him based upon misunderstandings. Furthermore, we can state these things of God with confidence, because the Bible teaches us that "all your words are true." (Psalm 119:160) Shine in darkness.