Thursday, October 30, 2008


“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sarah vs Oprah

SARAH believes that the Scriptures (Genesis to Revelation), in the original Hebrew and Greek, are the inspired, infallible words of the Creator and that these words speak the truth to our minds, and to the eyes of our heart.

OPRAH believes that divine revelation comes through the words of her New Age guru, Eckhart Tolle, whose exclusive, esoteric, “infallible” interpretation of all spiritual traditions she avidly embraces. Oprah insists that Tolle’s words supersede the words of Christ and all of Scripture. Oprah sees herself as an “awakened” and “evolved” human being who partakes fully in the supreme “it” behind all things, “universal intelligence.” Being plugged in to this “universal intelligence” generates for Oprah “awareness,” “presence,” and “flowering consciousness,” all disguised terms for self-adoration.

SARAH believes that she was created in the image of God, and that she is descended from Adam and Eve through Noah and his wife.

OPRAH believes she evolved by chance out of some kind of primordial ooze over hundreds of millions of years through worms, reptiles, and ape-people.

SARAH relies on the word of God and the Holy Spirit to guide her into truth.

OPRAH relies on a spirit or a force Tolle calls the “Source” which he claims resides within him and Oprah. That “Source” has told him that the word of the God of the Bible is not reliable, that there is no death, and that he and Oprah both are as God, able to say of themselves “I Am That I Am.” These things that the “Source” has told Oprah and Tolle are the same things the serpent told Eve in the ancient garden.

SARAH sees herself as a sinner saved by the grace of God through the blood of Christ.

OPRAH believes that to sin means “to miss the point of human existence,” and since she believes she “gets it,” she does not sin. Oprah considers herself to be “indestructible, immortal,” a “divine presence” and a “radiant essence” for whom salvation is an irrelevant issue.

SARAH’S foundation is Jesus Christ whose coming was prophesized throughout the Old Testament, and whose résumé is quite impressive, our year 2008 referencing the number of times the earth has revolved around the sun since His birth.

OPRAH’S foundation is Eckhart Tolle whose “awareness” began at age twenty-nine during a psychotic episode that he himself describes. Tolle therein realized his “true nature as the ever-present I am,” supposing himself qualified to save the world, showing others how to get rid of “egoic delusion” by relying on the “Source.” No reporter has yet been able to trace anything firm about his life prior to his psychotic split. He took the name Eckhart from the 14th-century German mystic, Meister Eckhart. No one knows whether his last name is real or fake.

SARAH believes that her Lord and Savior is the Son of God who loves us and humbled Himself for our sakes, even to the extent of his shameful death on the cross, and that we are to model our own humility after His.

OPRAH believes that humility and self-esteem “are one and the same,” being pleased to exalt her guru to the ultimate heights, proclaiming him to be the greatest living spiritual teacher. Oprah believes that “there is no need to go elsewhere for truth,” and that Tolle’s teaching “is not derived from external sources, but from the one true Source within, so it contains no theory or speculation.”

SARAH connects to God through thanksgiving and prayer.

OPRAH believes that “anything you enjoy doing connects you to the power behind all creation,” known to her as “universal intelligence.” Oprah prays to herself: “Oh, glorious future . . . How can I be used to serve the greater calling that is my life? I surrender to that.”

SARAH exhibits faith in God, believing that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

OPRAH mocks Christian faith, insisting that “God is a feeling experience, not a believing experience. If God for you is still about a belief, then it’s not truly God.”

SARAH, in her family and personal life, exhibits the kind of active, sacrificial love described in Scripture.

OPRAH believes that “real love doesn’t make you suffer.” To Oprah, love is something akin to a mere sensation: “To feel the presence of that One Life deep within yourself and within all creatures . . . a feeling-realization of oneness.”

SARAH is part of the body of Christ of which Jesus is the head, and in which each member, ideally, contributes his or her own gifts to the edification of all.

OPRAH is the head of a New Age “emerging tribe,” a “global community of seekers,” who look to her and Tolle for their “spiritual understanding.” Oprah and her guru imagine that they hold “the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world.” Oprah sees her tribe as a supremely enlightened “new species” arising on the planet that will bring “awareness” to the “still unconscious majority of the population.”

SARAH’S thinking demonstrates that God has given her a sound mind.

OPRAH’S thinking demonstrates the opposite. Her guru is a case study in the development of the mental illness of malignant narcissism. Like the original Narcissus, Tolle is obsessed with the two-dimensional reflection of his image. In his The Power of Now, Tolle writes about what he learned from viewing his own image in a mirror: “If you accept the image, no matter what it is, if you become friendly toward it, it cannot not become friendly toward you. This is how you change the world.” Here, in a nutshell, Tolle expresses the fundamental delusion and extreme grandiosity of his own malignant narcissism. A mirror image is not a true image, but a backwards one. Tolle is not the greatest spiritual teacher in the world as he imagines, but one of the least competent. Oprah welcomes Tolle’s preposterous claims with uncritical glee because they justify the adoration of her own backwards and exalted mirror image of herself. Oprah’s mind is not sound, filled as it is with shallow self-exaltation and global megalomaniacal intentions. (Tolle, Winfrey, and Obama all manifest the characteristics of malignant narcissism. For more on the subject, please see The People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck and Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited by Sam Vaknin).

SARAH believes it is her purpose to do what she can to maximize American liberty and prosperity, and to keep our country safe from foreign and domestic enemies.

OPRAH believes it is her purpose to get all of humanity to “awaken” and fall in line with “the evolutionary impulse of the universe” by promoting the anti-Christian doctrine of her pathologically narcissistic guru.

SARAH, when in doubt or difficulty, looks to the Author and Finisher of her faith, Jesus Christ.

OPRAH, when her “self-image is threatened,” looks to herself and, following Tolle’s instructions, intensifies her “awareness” of her inner “Being,” a ritual that amounts to little more than concentrated self-adoration.

SARAH is a sincere and truthful person.

OPRAH has lied from the very beginning about her worldwide anti-Christian crusade. Even as she spreads the messages that the God of the Old Testament is a mere projection of the human mind, that Jesus is not the only-begotten Son of God, and that her guru is superior in intelligence and wisdom to Christ, she claims to be a Christian. In response to questions from concerned Christians in her audience, Oprah responds disingenuously that Tolle often quotes Jesus. What she does not say is that the quotes are always crudely yanked out of context, always in contradiction to the clear sense of the passage, and always reframed to back up Tolle’s perverted teaching. Where do these lies come from? According to Oprah’s own doctrine, they must come from that same “Source” which tells her that the word of God is not valid, that she will not surely die, and that she may say of herself “I Am That I Am.”


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Psa 18:1-50

(1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love you, O LORD, my strength.
(2) The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
(3) I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
(4) The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me;
(5) the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
(6) In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
(7) Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry.
(8) Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him.
(9) He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.
(10) He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
(11) He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water.
(12) Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
(13) The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.
(14) And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
(15) Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
(16) He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.
(17) He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
(18) They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.
(19) He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
(20) The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
(21) For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
(22) For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me.
(23) I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt.
(24) So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
(25) With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
(26) with the purified you show yourself pure; and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
(27) For you save a humble people, but the haughty eyes you bring down.
(28) For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness.
(29) For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.
(30) This God--his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
(31) For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?--
(32) the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless.
(33) He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.
(34) He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
(35) You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.
(36) You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
(37) I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and did not turn back till they were consumed.
(38) I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet.
(39) For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me.
(40) You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed.
(41) They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the LORD, but he did not answer them.
(42) I beat them fine as dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets.
(43) You delivered me from strife with the people; you made me the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me.
(44) As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me.
(45) Foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their fortresses.
(46) The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation--
(47) the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me,
(48) who delivered me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you rescued me from the man of violence.
(49) For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name.
(50) Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Psa 17:1-15

(1) A Prayer of David. Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
(2) From your presence let my vindication come! Let your eyes behold the right!
(3) You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
(4) With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips I have avoided the ways of the violent.
(5) My steps have held fast to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
(6) I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words.
(7) Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
(8) Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,
(9) from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.
(10) They close their hearts to pity; with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
(11) They have now surrounded our steps; they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
(12) He is like a lion eager to tear, as a young lion lurking in ambush.
(13) Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
(14) from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.
(15) As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Psa 16:1-11

(1) A Miktam of David. Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
(2) I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."
(3) As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.
(4) The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.
(5) The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
(6) The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
(7) I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
(8) I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
(9) Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
(10) For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.
(11) You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rejoice with Trembling

John Piper

A Meditation on Psalm 2:11-12

Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

"Serve the Lord with fear . . .

This command does not cancel out Psalm 100:2: "Serve the Lord with gladness." Serving the Lord with fear and serving the Lord with gladness do not contradict each other. The next phrase will make that plain ("rejoice with trembling"). There is real fear and real joy. The reason there is real fear is that there is real danger. Our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). Yes, the elect are safe in Christ. But examine yourself, Paul says, "to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Cor. 13:5). "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12). Confidence in Christ is not careless. Our security is rooted in God's daily keeping, not our past decisions. " is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory" (Jude 1:24). Part of how he keeps us is by awakening the vigilance to rest daily in Christ and not in ourselves.

. . . and rejoice with trembling.

Fear does not rob us of our joy for two reasons. One is that it drives us to Christ where there is safety. The other is that even when we get there the part of fear that Christ relieves is the hope-destroying part. But he leaves another part-the part we want to feel forever. There is an awe or wonder or trembling in the presence of grandeur that we want to feel as long as we are sure it will not destroy us. This trembling does not compete with joy; it is part of joy. People go to terrifying movies because they know the monster cannot get into the theater. They want to be scared as long as they are safe. For some reason it feels good. This is an echo of the truth that they were made for God. There is something profoundly satisfying about being "frightened" when we cannot be hurt. It is the best when the trembling comes from the grandeur of holiness.

Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way . . .

God is jealous for his Son. "You shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Exodus 34:14). His anger is kindled when the affection designed for him is given to another. Of course there is a Judas kiss. That is not what he has in mind here. The kiss here is the kiss of adoration and submission-perhaps a kiss on the feet as we bow before him. There is no playing games with God. If we love another more, we will perish. He will be our highest treasure, or he will be our enemy. The safest place in the universe is at the feet of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. If we choose to turn from him for another treasure, his wrath will be against us.

. . . for his wrath is quickly kindled.

The word quickly may not be the best here. The word can mean quickly in the sense of suddenly. Repeatedly in the Bible God is said to be "merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Exodus 34:6). Not "quick to anger" but "slow to anger". Therefore I am inclined to think Psalm 2:12 means "His wrath can break out suddenly." In other words don't trifle with him in his patience because suddenly it may run out and you be overtaken in wrath. If you go on kissing his creation and not his Son, suddenly you will find the fangs of a serpent in your lip. Don't presume upon the patience of God.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

The only safe place from the wrath of God is in God. Everywhere outside of his care is dangerous. He is the only hiding place from his own wrath. If you see him as frightening and try to run away and hide, you will not find a place to hide. There is none. Outside of God's care there is only wrath. But there is a refuge from the wrath of God, namely, God. The safest place from the wrath of God-the only safe place-is God. Come to God. Take refuge in God. Hide in the shadow of his wings. This is where we live and serve with joyful trembling. It is terrible and it is wonderful. It is like the eye of a hurricane-terror all around, and totally beautiful and calm. Here there is sweet fellowship. Here is quiet, loving communion. Here we speak to him as to a friend. Here he ministers to our deepest needs. I invite you to come.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Almost Christian

I think this song depicts the despair of works-righteousness to its fullest.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
Music: John Zundel, 1815-1882
Tune: BEECHER, Meter: 87.87 D

1. Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.

2. Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit;
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

3. Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

4. Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Psa 15:1-5

(1) A Psalm of David. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
(2) He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
(3) who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
(4) in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
(5) who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Ancestors - Family photos

Psa 14:1-7

(1) To the choirmaster. Of David. The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
(2) The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
(3) They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
(4) Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?
(5) There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
(6) You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.
(7) Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Psa 13:1-6

(1) To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
(2) How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
(3) Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
(4) lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him," lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
(5) But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
(6) I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Church's One Foundation

Words by Samuel J. Stone
Music by Samuel Sebastian Wesley
Tune Name: AURELLA

1. The church's one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation
by water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

2. Elect from every nation,
yet one o'er all the earth;
her charter of salvation,
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses,
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses,
with every grace endued.

3. Though with a scornful wonder
we see her sore oppressed,
by schisms rent asunder,
by heresies distressed,
yet saints their watch are keeping;
their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
shall be the morn of song.

4. Mid toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace forevermore;
till, with the vision glorious,
her longing eyes are blest,
and the great church victorious
shall be the church at rest.

5. Yet she on earth hath union
with God the Three in One,
and mystic sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
like them, the meek and lowly,
on high may dwell with thee.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Helping People Have the Assurance of Salvation

John Piper

Full assurance is God's will for us. "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end" Hebrews 6:11.

Assurance is partially sustained by objective evidences for Christian truth. "To [his apostles] He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days" Acts 1:3.

Assurance cannot neglect the painful work of self-examination. "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you - unless indeed you fail the test?" 2 Corinthians 13:5.

Assurance will diminish in the presence of concealed sin. "When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long" Psalm 32:3.

Assurance comes from hearing the Word of Christ. "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" Romans 10:17.

"These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.

Repeated focusing on the sufficiency of the cross of Christ is crucial for assurance.Hebrews 10:21-22. "Since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith"

We must pray for eyes to see the truths that sustain assurance. "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe" Ephesians 1:18-19.

Assurance is not easily maintained in personal isolation. "And the eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you'" 1 Corinthians 12:21.

Assurance is not destroyed by God's displeasure and discipline. "Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light, and I will see His righteousness" Micah 7:8-9.

We must often wait patiently for the return of assurance. "I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the LORD" Psalm 40:1-3.

Assurance is a fight to the day we die. "Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life" 1 Timothy 6:12.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" 2 Timothy 4:7.

Assurance is finally a gift of the Spirit. "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God" Romans 8:16.

"The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself... And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son" 1 John 5:10-11.

Longing for your assurance,

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We Proclaim Him

“We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28)

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Saturday, October 11, 2008


This past week I was away, with my students, in Poland. I will give a brief report of the trip soon - right now - exhausted and in need of rest.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Psa 12:1-8

(1) To the choirmaster: according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David. Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.
(2) Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
(3) May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts,
(4) those who say, "With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?"
(5) "Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise," says the LORD; "I will place him in the safety for which he longs."
(6) The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.
(7) You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
(8) On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among the children of man.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Psa 11:1-7

(1) To the choirmaster. Of David. In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, "Flee like a bird to your mountain,
(2) for behold, the wicked bend the bow; they have fitted their arrow to the string to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
(3) if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
(4) The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD's throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test, the children of man.
(5) The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
(6) Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
(7) For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Psa 10:1-18

(1) Why, O LORD, do you stand afar off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
(2) In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
(3) For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.
(4) In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, "There is no God."
(5) His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
(6) He says in his heart, "I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity."
(7) His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
(8) He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
(9) he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor; he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
(10) The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.
(11) He says in his heart, "God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it."
(12) Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.
(13) Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, "You will not call to account"?
(14) But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.
(15) Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.
(16) The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.
(17) O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
(18) to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Gathering At Heartlight -- Help for Parents in Crisis

The Gathering At Heartlight -- Help for Parents in Crisis
Is your teenager spinning out of control? We invite you to come to Heartlight to learn the skills needed to deal with a defiant or self-destructive teenager. Learn how to better relate to your teen and regain control of your home. Participants will benefit from the individualized training of Mark Gregston and Heartlight counselors. The 3-day weekend seminar is for parents only and is held on the beautiful Heartlight campus in East Texas several times each year.

Those Who Attended the Seminar Are Saying...
"Our family has started to implement the plan and ideas we learned. So far, I am amazed at the response from our children."
"Mark gave us the renewed hope and the practical tools we needed to stop our teenager's downward spiral."
"It was a lifesaver for us, since we had no clue what to do next with our teen. We had already tried everything we could think of, to no avail."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A good read

Youniquely Women
Youniquely Women - Becoming Who God Designed You to Be
Can you imagine the amazing wisdom available when three of today's most admired Christian women get together to share with younger women what they've learned through the journey of their lives?

Kay, Emilie and Donna are dear friends who have put together Youniquely Woman conferences and this helpful and insightful book to present what they most wish they'd known when they started their lives as wives, mothers and women of God. In a warm, inviting and conversational manner, Kay, Emilie and Donna share how to celebrate God's unique imprint on your life by:

-bringing out the best in your marriage and your children
-capturing a vision for your home
-creating a strong relationship with Go
-finding balance in every area of our life
-and much more!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I am the LORD your God

“This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)

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Isa 48:16-22 -
The Holy Spirit qualifies for service; and those may speak boldly, whom God and his Spirit send. This is to be applied to Christ. He was sent, and he had the Spirit without measure. Whom God redeems, he teaches; he teaches to profit by affliction, and then makes them partakers of his holiness. Also, by his grace he leads them in the way of duty; and by his providence he leads in the way of deliverance. God did not afflict them willingly. If their sins had not turned them away, their peace should have been always flowing and abundant. Spiritual enjoyments are ever joined with holiness of life and regard to God's will. It will make the misery of the disobedient the more painful, to think how happy they might have been. And here is assurance given of salvation out of captivity. Those whom God designs to bring home to himself, he will take care of, that they want not for their journey. This is applicable to the grace laid up for us in Jesus Christ, from whom all good flows to us, as the water to Israel out of the rock, for that Rock was Christ. The spiritual blessings of redemption, and the rescue of the church from antichristian tyranny, are here pointed to. But whatever changes take place, the Lord warned impenitent sinners that no good would come to them; that inward anguish and outward trouble, which spring from guilt and from the Divine wrath, must be their portion for ever. (MHCC)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thoughts on Why Everything Exists

John Piper

One of the main points of the forthcoming book, Spectacular Sins and Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ, is that sin and God's wrath against it were part of God's plan when he created the world. This is different from saying that God sins or that he approves of sinning.

The main reason for making this point is to exalt the revelation of God's grace in the crucifixion of Jesus to the highest place. This is the point of the universe--the glorification of the grace of God in the apex of its expression in the death of Jesus.

Jesus died for sin (1 Corinthians 15:3). The death of Jesus for sin was planned before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8; Ephesians 1:4-6). Therefore, sin was part of the plan. God carries this plan through in a way that maintains full human accountability, full hatred for sin, full divine justice, and full saving love for all who trust Christ. And we don't need to know how he does it to believe it and rest in it and worship him for it.

This morning I was meditating for my devotions on Ezra 8 and 9. I saw there another pointer to the truth of God's planning for human sin and divine wrath.

In Ezra 8:22, Ezra says, "The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and his power and his wrath are against all who forsake him." This text leads me to ask: Did God know before creation that his creatures would "forsake him." Yes, he did. The plan for their redemption was in place before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-6).

Was Ezra 8:22 true before the foundation of the world? Yes, it was. God did not become holy and just after creation. He has always been holy and just. "His power and his wrath are against all who forsake him" because this is, and always has been, the holy and just thing for God to do.

Therefore, since God knew that his creatures would forsake him, he also knew that his power and wrath would be against them. Therefore, this was part of his plan. He created the world knowing that sin would happen and that he would respond as Ezra 8:22 says he does.

This planning is what Paul means in Romans 9:22 when he says that God was "desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power. . ." And if you ask Paul why God would go forward with this plan, his most ultimate answer is in the next verse: "in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy" (Romans 9:23).

God knew that the revelation of his wrath and power against sin would make the riches of his glory shine all the brighter and taste all the sweeter for the vessels of mercy.

"The riches of his glory" are the riches we inherit when we see his glory in all the fullness that we can bear (Ephesians 1:18) and are transformed by it (Romans 8:30; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2). These riches of glory reach their supreme height of wonder and beauty in the death of Jesus as he bore the condemnation of God's wrath and power in our place (Romans 8:3; Galatians 3:13).

In other words, God's plan that there be sin and wrath in the universe was ultimately to bring about "the praise of the glory of his grace" in the death of Christ (Ephesians 1:6). What is at stake in the sovereignty of God over sin is the ultimate aim of the universe, namely, the exaltation of the Son of God in the greatest act of wrath-removing, sin-forgiving, justice-vindicating grace that ever was or ever could be. The praise of the glory of God's grace in the death of Christ for sinners is the ultimate end of all things.

Christ is the aim of all things. When Paul says, "All things were created . . . for him" (Colossians 1:16), he means that the entire universe and all the events in it serve to glorify Jesus Christ. May the meditations of our hearts take us ever deeper into this mystery. And may the words of our mouths and the actions of our hands serve to magnify the infinite worth of Jesus and his death. This is why we exist.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.