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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Presumptuous

Psalm 19:13 stopped me short this morning.  I wondered – it is interesting that, as many times as I have read this Psalm I haven’t wondered before – what exactly presumptuous sin might be.  I looked up the word, it is variously translated in the old testament:
  • Arrogance
  • Pride
  • Presumption
What does presumption look like?  Thoughts at DTTB.
So the question becomes when am I arrogant and in what domains?  Where does pride emerge in my life?  When do I presume – I needed more help so I looked up the word in a dictionary…

“Overstepping due bounds (as of propriety or courtesy); taking liberties.”

When have I pushed beyond the place the relationship will bear?  When have I taken liberties with a person that I have not earned?

As I think through my behavior I can identify far too many instances when I have done all of these things.

Lord keep back thy servant from presumptive sins!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Assisted Living

Dependent
Working through the last section of Psalm 119 this morning, I was struck once again and deeply about how dependent on God we are even to follow Him.  Look at 119:169 - 170.  David begs The Lord to allow his prayer to be heard and he begs for deliverance.
How does the Holy Spirit assist us to follow God?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Pervasive
Thinking through this I was drawn to 1 Corinthians 2, John 16:13, and Romans 8:26, read through those and note how we are described and how the role the Spirit plays in our life is described.  I noted:
  • I do not know how or for what to pray
  • The Spirit dwells in me and knows my heart
  • The Spirit knows the heart and mind of both the Father and the Son
  • The Spirit prays according to God (the reference to God's will is supplied by the translators for clarity but It seems to soften the impact of the thought that Paul wrote in the Greek.)
Complete
The depth of my helplessness and ignorance is immeasurable.  The depth of the Spirit's knowledge is unfathomable.  

Romans 8 tells me I have been:
  • Foreknown
  • Predestined
  • Called
  • Justified
  • Glorified
Comprehensive
By the God who sent the Spirit to lead me through the process and lead me into the truth.  God's plan to save me is comprehensive.  It takes into account my complete and utter helplessness by supplying the Spirit who knows the mind of God toward me to indwell, lead, guide, and pray me through the messes I create along this journey.

Overwhelming assisted living. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Sum

Contradiction?
Has someone ever said to you, "The Bible is full of contradictions!"  Or have you ever known anyone who struggled making sense out of passage that seemed to say something different than another for instance James and Romans.
What do you do with contradictions in the Bible?  Thoughts at DTTB.
It happened the other morning in Bible study.  In Romans 14:3ff we are told not to judge others.  In 1 Corinthians 5:9ff we are told not to associate with immoral people and we are told by Paul that we are to judge those in the Church.  Clear contradiction, right?  Nope.

Not So Much
Read the context of the passages.  In Romans Paul is talking about how believers choose to worship,  In Romans he is referring to a "believer" who is in an incestuous relationship.  We are to judge sin we are not to judge worship style.

The Sum is Truth
The Bible is consistent.  It presents itself as consistent.  In Psalm 119:160, David says that the sum of the Word is truth.  When we look at the whole what appears to be a conflict resolves.  If you find yourself struggling with a passage that seems to be in conflict with another, pull up.  Gain altitude.  That is read the context of the passages.  Get a bigger picture of the pieces that seem to conflict.

They will resolve.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Linkage

Deals
Have you ever made a deal with God?  You know get me out of this and I will _______!  You are in good company.  Martin Luther did.  King David did.
What makes prayer effective?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Examples
Luther found himself stranded in a storm and promised God if he saved him Luther would join the monastery.  God did; Luther did.  We have the reformation as a result.


David cried to the Lord that if He saved him David would keep God’s commandments.  God did; David tried and as a result we have the Psalms.

Connection
In Psalm 119 David recounts this experience and he links his cry for deliverance with the Word of God.  Read 145 – 148.  David connects the Word of God to his prayer.

One of my takeaways from this is that to be effective in prayer I have to both be in and obedient to the Word of God.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rhythm and Timing

Not That
No not birth control, life.  If you have been paying attention you will notice that you life has ebbs and flows.  It may be that certain times of the year are harder for you than others.  There is a multiple part solution to that reality that I might suggest.
  • Journal daily about your walk with God.
  • Engage continually and consistently in ministry to other people.
  • Write a daily blog.
I will eventually write more on each of these but I want to focus on the last one first.
What moderates life's ups and downs?  Thoughts at DTTB.

External Focus
This blog has turned out to be a leveling influence in my walk with God.  This is not done so people will read it, it is done out of obedience to something that the Lord laid on my heart.  This is written for Him.  What I have discovered, I have to continually pursue Him, even when I do not feel like it, in order to be in any way faithful to write here daily.  I have noticed in the past two years that this daily exercise has served to moderate the yearly mood swings.  Sure there are times when I am more encouraged than others.  But the amplitude of the variations has lessened.

The common denominator for the multiple part solution suggested above is simple.  It is an outward focus on God and others and not so much on me.

Try it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

More Changes

Massive
This weekend our youngest child will get married.  This is something that we have anticipated for the last 32 years, since our first child was born.  That does not make it any easier.  Certainly we are excited for him.  We love his fiance and have know here and her family for around 18 years.  But this is a deep change for us.
How do we deal with the constant and changing demands on our lives?  Thoughts at DTTB.

Empty
No longer will our house be the primary residence for any of our children.  It has been that way for all but 2.5 years of the 35 years we have been married.  We have to get used to a quieter and somewhat cleaner house.  With that change there are several more we are learning to work through.  How do we “parent” married children?  How do we develop good relationships with our children’s spouses and their extended families?  Add that to the reality of the emerging grandchildren – what does a good grandparent look like?  We have some models, our folks, what do we learn from them?  How or can we improve?

Constant
I was talking to a person last weekend that I had not seen in about 20 years.  We were thinking through all of this and she remarked, “I thought as we got older life would get simpler.”  Not so much.

Anchor
I remember when our first child was born we spent a lot of time standing on James 1:5 – 6.  It seems like we have never left that foundation and probably never will.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Interpretation

If you are interested in learning more about how to interpret the Bible I have a resource for you.
A friend sent me a reference that will help you better interpret the Bible.  Thoughts at DTTB.
A friend sent this to me this morning.  I have scanned it.  It is really good.  Click here to download, enjoy…

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Spiritual

Romans
I am in Romans 8 this week for the Tuesday morning Bible study we do on Skype.  One of the guys got married this weekend so we are taking a week longer on this chapter, some people will do anything to get out of Bible study.
What do we need to do to be Spiritual?  Thoughts at DTTB.
What is Spiritual
I noticed that a theme I saw in Philippians started here in Romans, I commented on it a few days back.  The reason this is important here is that chapter 8 is strong on our walk in the Holy Spirit and His role in our life.  The theme is that in order to walk spiritually, that is in the Spirit, it takes intentional thought.  The core of Paul’s argument on this is in 8:5 – 9.  Note the repetition of “mind set”.

This is not emotive, not experiential, not extraordinary, not ecstatic, it is a rational choice.  It is a continual focus on the spiritual.

So how do we do that?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Antidote to Anguish

Crazy weeks or months have periodically inserted themselves into our experience.  We are invaded by unscheduled chaos.  Strangers destroy our carefully planned schedules.  We find ourselves mired in a swirl of conflicting demands.  Things break, plans are scuttled, schedules wiped out, nothing is working.
When anguish is the defining quality of your life, what do you do?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Times like these have literally made me want to emit the proverbial primal scream…  This week started like that.  So what do you do with a season, however long, like that?

Psalm 119:143 throws out a life line.  Get some time in the Word.  It gives perspective.  It helps you lift your eyes beyond the current anguish.  It reminds you who is in control (while typing this I got a phone call that required this reminder).  It gives you an anchor with which you can ride out the hurricane.

Fight your way into the Word when the world is crashing down around you.  Run there as if your life depends on it.  Fact is.  It does.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Established and Protected

Working through Psalm 119:129 – 136 this morning I saw some things in verse 133 that challenged me a bit.
Without help I am pretty much helpless... Thoughts at DTTB.
The first phrase, “Establish my footsteps in Thy word,” reminds me that I cannot be established in God’s Word apart from His work in my life.  Does not matter how much time I invest.  How much I read.  If He does not establish me I will not learn anything.

The second phrase, “And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me,” reminds me that like the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9 – 13, I am pretty much helpless in the face of sin unless the Lord enables me to withstand it.

As a man I like to think I am able to stand on my own, independent, a warrior for the cause.  But the Word tells of a much different reality.  I am completely dependent on my Lord, not only to learn of Him in His Word, but to stand against the continual onslaught of temptation that this world throws at me daily.

I cannot do this on my own.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Compromise

In the past few years I have been dealing with some issues that are divisive.  Some of the issues have clear direction in the Scripture, others not so much.  I have seen those who are concerned with the unity of the Body compromise their convictions or their understanding of Scripture to either continue to serve areas of the Body or else maintain their position in those elements.
When do we bend and when do we stand our ground?  thoughts at DTTB.
It is a difficult choice.  There are times when compromise is necessary.  There are others when that compromise is destructive.

For the moment lets think about the destructive kind.  If we continue to engage in a situation where we feel that Scripture is being consistently and deliberately violated for the sake of unity, I wonder if we are not contributing to the problem.  By our continual engagement we are saying by our presence that we do not feel that the issue is a problem.  Regardless of what we say, what we do speaks louder.  If we are continuing to engage where the Word is not honored, or sections of it are dismissed as irrelevant, our credibility when we teach that it should be honored and that it is relevant lacks integrity.

The most difficult challenge in this is choosing which battles to fight.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Circular Affliction

I have written here about eight times about affliction (here are those posts).  Here goes number nine.

All throughout Psalm 119 we read that it is affliction that is one of the things that helps me to understand and embrace the Word of God.  That theme is continued and expanded in Psalm 119:105 - 112.  There we read that it is the Word of God that revives me during affliction.
How does the Word of God interact with our affliction?  Thoughts at DTTB.
So affliction helps me to understand and apply the Word of God and the Word of God revives me during affliction.  One of the things that Prof Hendricks said continually was that our study of the Word is not just a good thing for us to do as believers but a survival feature.  This theme in Psalm 119, and my experience in life bears this out in spades.

Through the betrayals and difficulties of living in this world the primary thing that has held me in any semi upright position is time in the Word.  It has helped me to maintain perspective.  It has kept me from over morose introspection by lifting my eyes off of myself and placing God in the forefront.  It has reminded me that this is His story, it is about Him and His kingdom, not about me and my domain.

In both the good times and those that are not so good, we have to cling to His Word.  It is much more than a lifesaver.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Laude How Cum

My undergraduate career was less than stellar.  While my friends graduated Magna Cum, Summa Cum, and Cum Laude, mine was more along the lines of Laude How Cum.  We had to have a 2.0 on a 4 point scale to walk.  I did not expend any more effort than was absolutely necessary.
Studying the Bible can completely transform you, it did me.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Then about six weeks after graduation life changed.  I was shown how to study the Bible, and I was completely blown away.  Since then Psalm 119:97 – 104 is a fairly good description of my life.  I quickly developed an unquenchable thirst for the Bible, a thirst that has not abated in 37 years.  It changed me.  It changed the way I learn.  It changed the way I read.  It changed what I read.  It gave me analytical tools that I have used in multiple job and consulting situations.  It gave me insight into people that before I completely missed.

Fourteen years after that study, I enrolled in seminary, four years later I graduated with Laude How Cum reversed and the “How,” answered.  I was completely transformed by the Word.

It still does that.  I have seen it over and over again in the lives of those whom the Lord has allowed me to introduce to the joy of diving deeply into His Book.  If you haven’t, take the plunge.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

In the Traces

On July 9th I reconnected with Mary Ann Shimkus on facebook.  She and her husband Ron were at Michigan State when my wife and I were there in the 70’s.  Ron was there to be trained to be a training center director, my wife and I were there to learn how to be staff.
I pray that I will end as well... Thoughts at DTTB.
Ron and Mary Ann Shimkus
Mary Ann and I messaged back and forth a bit.  She told me Ron was in Zimbabwe working on some humanitarian projects.  I was excited about that, my interest in Africa has increased exponentially in the past three years.  I was eager to connect with Ron when he returned.  He won’t.

A few minutes ago I got an email from a mutual friend.  Seven days after Mary Ann told me about Ron’s mission, he suffered a fatal heart attack while in country.  I grieve.  I grieve because I remember Ron’s enthusiasm and Love for the Word.  I grieve because I remember his heart for the lost.  I grieve because I see the pictures of his family who have temporarily lost a great father and grandfather.

But I also rejoice and am at the same time deeply and profoundly challenged.  Ron was on mission when his Lord called him.  He was hard about what the Lord designed him to do.  Ron was three years my senior.  I pray that I will end as well.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cleaning

So this is not going to be very spiritual or Biblical unless you buy into that old cleanliness is next to godliness thing.  For the past several days my wife and I have been cleaning our house in preparation for my son’s wedding next weekend.  The relatives are coming.  So my wife has us doing a “deep” clean.
Sometimes it just takes a lot of time to live...  Thoughts at DTTB.
Part of that “deep” clean was to have the carpets steam cleaned this morning.  So last night we moved all of the furniture and this morning they came and “deep” cleaned the carpets.  Before we reassemble all we have to wait for the last moisture to leave.  So I am sitting in a folding chair at my desk which is covered with more junk than it usually is.

You know the chair mats that you put behind your desk?  The ones with the lifetime warranty that fall apart in six months?  Having finally had it with those while the office is wrecked I am building a 5/8” thick wooden one, maybe it will last seven months.  I have cut it to fit, glued ¼ round to the edges, sanded, and stained it, and will put the first coat of polyurethane on it in about thirty minutes.

I am not ready for my two Bible studies tomorrow.  I am behind in planning the mission trip for August.  I need to finish writing up the description of the training I will be doing in November…  and I am waiting for the carpet to dry.

I guess the point is that sometimes life interferes with our doing what we feel called to do…  As my buddy Chuck, who responds to these from time to time, says, “It takes a lot of time to live.”

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Struggle On

It Ain't Easy
You may have heard it said that anything that is worth doing is not going to be easy.  I wrote about that in relation to Bible study last month.
It is a struggle to engage in the Word at any level.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Stiff Challenge
In the workshop this morning we covered the section that gives people the most trouble.  We began to look at how the structure of the text can help us make better observations.  When people start with this it is, to use their words, tedious.  If they stick with it until it moves to automatic it will revolutionize what they see in the Word.

Steep Climb
Sitting down to study the Bible at any level is hard.  After all we are pursuing knowledge of the infinite being with finite minds.  It should be hard.  I wish I was better able to communicate the value.  Words do not seem adequate to describe the riches that can be mined from God’s Word.  It is well worth the struggle.  It is well worth working through the tedium to get to where you begin to see those riches.

Rich Reward
Proverbs 2:3 – 4 likens this enterprise as searching for silver or hidden treasure.  It is an arduous task with huge rewards.

Dig in.  Struggle on.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mind

New Observation
Working through Romans 7 this morning I observed something I had not seen previously – by the way that happens a lot.  I have studied this book several times, each time I see more than I saw all of the times before.
As believers are we to feel or think our way through the Christian Life?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Serving with Your Mind
The “new” observation was in Romans 7:25, the last verse.  Paul states that he is serving with his mind the Law of God.  That caught my attention because Romans 8 revolves around the Spirit in the believer’s life and experience.  Further in Jeremiah 31:33 the Lord indicates that He will put the Law in the heart of His people.  This in turn is a reiteration or better a reinforcement of Deuteronomy 30:11 – 20 where again the Lord says that the Law is in the hearts of the people.  But here Paul seems to contrast that by focusing on the mind of the believer.

A Theme in Paul
This is not the only place he does this.  I have written about what he says about the mind elsewhere in the New Testament here and here.  In Romans 12:1 – 2 he reinforces this ideas telling us that we need to be renewed in our minds.  Earlier in Romans Paul continually exhorts the reader to “consider,” “reckon,” or “credit” themselves as dead or righteous.  Paul puts a lot of emphasis on how we think.

Think or Feel
This is important because in the Church it is not much emphasized.  We are more interested in how we feel spiritually, or how the Spirit has moved us.  We do not think hard about what we are seeing in the text.  Not many times have I been challenged to do so.

Resistance
God gave us our mind.  He expects us to think.  He expects us to think well.  Thinking well is continually under assault.  As a prime example think about the closing argument of the prosecution in the Zimmerman case last week.  The prosecution exhorted the six women on the jury to follow their hearts rather than think through the evidence.  Time after time we are told we need to follow our emotion rather than our reason.  That happens not only in the culture but it has also gained a foothold in the Church.

Watch out for that…

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Settled

Psalm 119:89 is one of my favorite verses.  My kids will tell you I say that about a lot of verses.  God’s Word is settled.  Webster defines settled as, “to fix or resolve conclusively”.  David says here that is God’s Word.
Do you ever question the Bible?  Thoughts at DTTB.
In the next verse, David gives reasons for the fact that God’s Word is settled.  God’s “faithfulness continues throughout all generations,” the character of God.  “Thou didst establish the earth, and it stands,” the work of God.  God’s nature and work stand, His Word does as well.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Get it Straight

Issue
Last week I had several conversations with men about an issues that I feel Biblically is of great importance.  I had been given some information from a source that I trust implicitly.  Receiving that information was one of the events that led to me picking up the phone.
We need to get our facts straight before we dive into an issue...  Thoughts at DTTB.
Research
Before I talked to these men I made another phone appointment to validate the information that I had received.  It was important not to engage in these conversations with second hand information, even though I trusted the source.  So I talked to the individual who was directly involved.  I am glad I did.  While the basic information I received was correct the individual who told my friend was more upset than the person with whom I talked.  I learned a different perspective, and it changed radically my approach to the conversations I had scheduled.

Lesson
Many times, unfortunately, I have not checked out information for myself.  I have just run with what I was told.  Not a good plan.  People, even godly, engaged people do not always present things that happen or issues that concern them in full light.  By God’s grace, I got the straight story before I acted.  I pray that the lesson will not be lost on me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Personal Trainer

Individualized
A few years back on a ski trip my son and I hired a personal instructor to teach us how to ski moguls.  We spent an hour or so with him and he worked hard to explain, demonstrate, observe, and correct our “technique”.  Most of his effort was in vain, I still can’t ski moguls, but I do ski better.  Even though the results were not what we had hoped, the time and the instruction were excellent.  We learned a lot.
Known
Reading in Psalm 119:73 just now, it dawned on me that the Lord is our personal instructor in His Word.  We know from Psalm 139 that He personally and intentionally was engaged in our individual creation.  He formed us.  The psalmist draws on that reality here.

The ski instructor was not intimately acquainted with either of my son’s or my athletic skills, abilities, how we learn, or how we are motivated.  God is.  He formed them.  He designed them.  He did it for a reason.  So He knows how we can best learn His commandments.

Specifically Tailored
Think of that!  The God who created the universe shapes His instruction about Himself uniquely to the gifts and abilities that He formed in us.  We cannot help but learn of Him.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Good Affliction

Good
Twice in Psalm 119:65 – 72 the psalmist exults in affliction.  He says that affliction resulted in his keeping God’s Word and that it helped him to learn his Statutes.  That is rarely – actually never, my response to affliction – at least initially.
Do you view affliction as good?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Repetitive
On my timeline, I can point to three significant afflictions – there are more, but those three are head and shoulders above the others.  Each of them caused significant and deep pain, pain that lasted – a gift that kept on giving.  Some of that pain is still a word, a glance, or a unexpected encounter below the surface – perhaps it will always be there – a reminder like Paul’s thorn in the flesh that His grace is lavishly sufficient, 2 Corinthians 12:7 – 10.

Intentional
But as I reflect on those afflictions I began to see a pattern.  The pattern of God’s sovereign hand directing, carefully, and with lavish grace and mercy the situations to move me in directions and to protect me from situations that would have possibly rendered me ineffective in the use of my passion, gifts, and abilities – in fact He used the situations to shape those passions, gifts, and abilities.

Purposeful and Protective
In one case I was spared having to decide between my understanding of the Bible and the entity I served, another saved us from probable financial ruin, the last destroyed an idol of security I had constructed and left me with nothing but trust in God.  These were painful.  I railed against them.  In the rear view mirror I am grateful for the loving grace I can now see dimly.

Long Low Production Day

You ever had a day that did not go as planned and it was your fault?  That was my day.  Started off well, then faded.
 I kind of blew this day...
When that happens to me I tend to beat myself up.  This is the first time in two years I have not gotten the blog post out before the date changed.  The day just slipped away.

So I am not going to publish this one like I usually do.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Transformation

Have you seen it?  Have you watched it in progress?  Have you seen the Word of God transform a person’s life?

There was a guy in our ministry some years back who was an athlete.  He was gifted physically.  Big guy.  He grew up in a home with a father who continually called him dummy.  He bought it.  He “knew” he wasn't smart; he was a dummy.  We met individually over the Bible and he was in Bible study with us for a couple of years.
Have you seen the Word of God transform?  Thoughts at DTTB.
One evening he had to work late and was late getting to the Bible study.  He came into the den and flopped into a bean bag chair we had in the corner.  He was tired.  For the first several minutes he simply listened as we processed the Word together.  At one point in the conversation he emerged from the bean bag leaning into the group and began to share his thoughts.  He we dead on.  His insight captivated the others in the study.

His time in the Word had awakened in him a hunger to learn and to share and reoriented the picture that he had painted of his “dumb” self.

He was transformed.

It was not anything that I did.  It was not anything more than his spending time reading and studying the Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to weld the truth of what he was finding in the Word into his heart.  I have seen it happen more times than I can count.

It makes it easy to get up in the morning.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Good Books

Every now and then a book comes around that we have to read and tell everyone about.  I found two, Antonin Scalia’s Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts and D. A. Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies.
If you want to stretch yourself in studying your Bible I have a couple of suggestions.  Thoughts at DTTB.

If you are at all interested in reading and studying your Bible more effectively, I would highly recommend these books.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Portion Control

In the diet literature we are told that in order to control our weight we need to control the portions we eat.  We do that to maintain our physical health.  A similar reality is also true in for our spiritual health.
There are some phases of our life where portion control is a bad thing.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Psalm 119:57 brought that to mind today.  You can read it.  The Lord is my portion.  However, unlike portion control for our physical well being, we cannot get enough of the portion of the Lord.

If you think like I do the question becomes, “How do I get my portion of the Lord?”  We are not like the 12.  We do not have the option of walking with Him for three years.  In John 16:7 Jesus tells us that is a good thing.  We actually have it better than the 12 as difficult as that may be to grasp.  Why, we have the Spirit.  We have the Bible.  They did not have either.

Physically we want to limit the size of our portion.  That is not the case spiritually.  We need to get all that we can.  That is done through the Word of God.  Just before He told the 12 that His Father was sending the Spirit He told them to abide in His Word, John 15:7.

Unfortunately some of us exercise portion control spiritually.  Don't.  Dive in.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tomorrow

Have you ever started an exercise program or a diet tomorrow?  How does that work for you?  Not very well for me.  The tomorrow seems to keep moving.
Ever put stuff off?  Thoughts at DTTB.
A lot of us men seem to do that with our walk with God.  We work on our careers, businesses, that sort of thing and we think that when we get into a stable situation then we can shift attention to the spiritual.  There are a few challenges with that thinking.  You can read them; I don’t think I need to comment.

Matthew 6:33
Luke 12:13 – 21
James 4:13 – 17

Friday, July 5, 2013

Burning Indignation

What angers you?  That is a measure of who you are.  Is it big stuff or stuff that does not really matter?
What gets us really angry says a lot about us.  Thoughts at DTTB.
In Psalm 119:53 the psalmist says he is seized by burning indignation.  Why?  Because people have forsaken God’s Law, the Word of God.

I have been really indignant when people do not immediately turn left when the light changes.  I have become really indignant when someone says something derogatory about my college.  I have really become indignant when someone treats me like a servant.  That is certainly as important as abandoning the Word of God.

Truth is that gets me madder faster than just about anything.  How about you?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Birthdays

Today is the nation’s birthday.  It is also mine.  I know four other people that have birthdays today as well.  Two of them are father and son.  A few other folks share it with us.  For the longest time – well until I was about six, I thought this thing we do today was all about me.  I know better now.  At least about this birthday thing.
It is several people's birthday today...  Thoughts at DTTB.
Not so much about the Christian life.  I am still learning that this is His story not mine.  Salvation was for his glory.  What He does is a reflection of his majesty.  I forget that.  I want, demand, Him to give me presents (read answered prayer).  If you have read the Harry Potter books, sometimes I act like Dudley Dursley, counting my presents and making sure that I got more than the year before.  Otherwise like Dudley I am prone to pout and throw a fit.  I need constant reminders…

This is not about me.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Self Inflicted Confusion

Context
This has been an interesting day.  Started with a discussion with several men on how to resist Satan.  Then worked for several hours on getting my son’s rehearsal dinner invitations out.  Then mowed the yard and listened to John Piper speak on the life of John Calvin.  Lastly, got a report from a friend on a Christian ministry that you would know has violated the clear teaching of Scripture and has justified their disobedience with verbal gymnastics.  You may ask how all these are related.  They are with the possible exception of the invitations…
Is is inevitable that Christian organizations will eventually become irrelevant?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Majesty
Piper’s main point on Calvin was that his entire focus was on the majesty of God.  It defined all that he did.  Salvation, justification, was not about us but about reflecting the majesty of God.  Satan hates that.  He does all that he can to diminish God’s majesty in our eyes.

Attack
He uses pressure from our culture to try to move us away from the sufficiency of God’s majesty, Romans 12:2.  The church has slowly bent to that pressure.  The choice of this well know organization is yet another in a long string of examples where the enemy has led a group away from the Word of God.

Lost Focus
In most of these cases it is because the leaders and members have forgotten or never grasped Piper’s point on Calvin.  It is not about us.  It is not about our salvation or service.  It is about the majesty of God.  When we compromise or explain away clear texts of Scripture so we can be “more effective” in a culture we are doing that for our benefit.  We have forgotten the core.  It is not about us.  It is about God’s majesty.  When we forget that it leads to confusion.

Emerging Heresy
I have written about this drift before.  It is significant and it is dangerous.  The current issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society documents this drift in an article entitled “The Emerging Divide in Evangelical Theology.”  The author documents several unbiblical positions held by prominent Christian leaders.  We are at war.

Earlier Thoughts
I have not often referred back to earlier posts but this is important.  Here are some earlier thoughts:
20120203 Dissonance
20120731 Does Truth Matter
20120801 Hijacked
20121022 Can We Really Trust Paul?
20121024 Your Opinion Does Not Matter – Neither Does Mine
20121103 How To Prevent Ear Tickling
20121227 Legendary Error
20130302 Stuck…
20130330 Forcing

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mom

Today is my mom’s 87th birthday.  She is celebrating with the Lord and has been for the past nine years.  It does not seem possible it has been that long.
Some people impact us in ways that leave a permanent mark.  Thoughts at DTTB.
Mom loved the Lord.  She came to him later in life through a journey that took her through some churches that did not serve her well in understanding the grace of God.  She finally met him through her time in Bible Study Fellowship.  She dug deep into the Word there and became a leader in that group.

She preceded me in effective faith.  As I was graduating from college she and a group of her friends began to pray for me and the direction of my life.  As a result my plans were radically changed and rather than have six months to party, I reported to Craig Air Force Base in Selma, Alabama the day after I graduated.  It was there that I was introduced to the Lord through Bible study in the BOQ.  Shortly after that I met my wife in Auburn and we married and joined the staff of a Christian organization.

Mom was loved by all that knew her.  People still stop me in Huntsville and tell me how much she impacted them.  Her faith and prayer impacted my life and the life of my family.

I am blessed to be her son.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Waiting for Assets

We are in the middle of an interminably long process of moving my wife's old retirement savings plans to an IRA over which we will have more control.  We figure when the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the assets that are to be transferred we will be close to done.
Often we do not wait for what we need.  Thoughts at DTTB.
I was on the phone with them this morning to check the status of the transactions.  The agent told me that one of the companies had sent the assets but we were waiting for the assets from the other one.

That terminology has stuck with me all day.  As believers we receive power as an asset from the Holy Spirit.  Jesus told the 12 they were to wait for that asset, Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8.  Another asset we have is the Gospel.  Paul calls it the power of God, Romans 1:16.  Still another is the Word of God, 1 Corinthians 5:18 and Ephesians 6:17.  The last asset I think of is one another, the passage that demonstrates this most clearly to me is Colossians 3:9 – 16.

It occurs to me as I think about this that ofttimes I engage in life or “endeavors for the Lord” without waiting for the proper assets.