Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Do you really believe God answers prayer?

I live in Illinois, and so I knew President Obama as my U.S. Senator before I knew him as my President. Based on his own words, some of his political positions and some of his political actions over the years, I have never believed that Mr. Obama is a true Christian (contrary to his public profession).

Like many Christians, I am troubled by some of President Obama’s political decisions. However, unlike many of my fellow believers, I reject the divisive, mean-spirited, almost-racist rhetoric of some of the loudest mouths on the Right (Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, et al.), and I reject the hostile and oppositional methods that flow from that kind of rhetoric.

I read that “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov. 21:1). So, why don’t we Christians pray like we believe that's true? Rather than complain (like so many conservatives are doing), let us pray wholeheartedly for President Obama’s salvation. I believe the Lord Jesus can give him a new heart, and I believe a new heart in our President will result in a new way of thinking and a brand new worldview.

Do you believe God will do that, if we pray?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Spiritual Pride

“There is no sin so much like the devil as this…”

Read the entire quote, here.

HT: Ray Ortlund

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Shout for joy!

Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.”
(Psalm 66:1-4)

I was glad to read this post by Justin Childers.

Now, I just wish I had the courage to actually put it into practice! Childers mentioned that prideful people do not shout. Timid and self-conscious people do not shout, either. So, whether overly-conscious of self or overly-conscious of others, either way, we keep our praise of God in check. May God free us to praise Him.

Also, follow this link to my church’s online sermons page. Find and listen to the message from Dr. Craig Williford, President of Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL, who was our guest preacher today. Dr. Williford preached on “Trusting In the God You Don’t Expect” from the book of Habakkuk. This was definitely God’s word to me today.

To tell you the truth: After hearing this message, I felt like shouting...although I didn’t dare (Pray for me!).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Around the blogosphere

With my mind filled with thoughts and concerns over life, work, ministry, vocation, etc., I have just not been in the mood this Fall to write or read a whole lot. However, I have been browsing the blogs. Here are a few things I have come across in the past couple of days that I think you will find helpful and edifying:

Three video clips featuring Dr. Don Carson:

How do I know God exists?

How do I know God exists? from A Passion for Life on Vimeo.

How can God allow suffering and evil in the world?

How can God allow suffering and evil in the world? from A Passion for Life on Vimeo.

How can God be loving yet send people to hell?

How can God be loving yet send people to hell? from A Passion for Life on Vimeo.

At the same site, I also found these clips:

Hasn’t science disproved God?

Hasn't Science disproved God? from A Passion for Life on Vimeo.

Don’t other religions lead to God?

Don't other religions lead to God? from A Passion for Life on Vimeo.

You can view all the “A Passion for Life” videos here.

Kevin DeYoung writes a good word the church needs to heed, titled, “Divorce and Remarriage: A Smokescreen and a Fire”

Finally, the Texas Department of Corrections has a website with the last words of over 400 death row inmates just before they were executed. It is sobering to read just a few. It brought tears to my eyes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Great, fatherly advice

By far the best advice I have received this year came from a dead man. I found it in the words of the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) to his daughter, Elizabeth, in a letter he wrote to her in 1948. In answer to her questions about how she could know whether or not it was the will of God for her to be an overseas missionary, Dr. Lloyd-Jones had this to say:

The one vital, all-important thing is to know the will of God. It is not as easy as it sometimes sounds. I was for over two years in a state of uncertainty and indecision before leaving medicine for the pulpit. But in the end it was made absolutely and perfectly clear and mainly by means of things which God did.

These are the rules which I would advise you to observe:

1. Never speak to anyone about it. Don’t tell people what you are feeling and discuss it and ask for advice. That always leads to still more uncertainty and confusion. Make an absolute rule of this at all costs. Say nothing until you are absolutely certain, because we are all subject to self suggestion.

2. Do not even think about it and discuss the pros and cons with yourself. Once more this leads to auto suggestion and confusion.

3. In meetings, etc. do not start with the thought in your mind, “I wonder whether this is going to throw light on my question or help in any way?”

4. In other words, you must not try to anticipate God’s leading. Believing as I do that God does “call” very definitely, and in a distinct and definite doctrine of a call, and a vocation is distinct from “the need is the call” idea, I believe that Good will always make His will and His way plain and clear. With reverence, therefore, I say leave it to God entirely as regards purpose, time and all else.

All you have to do is to tell God that you are content to do His will whatever it may be and, more, that you will rejoice to do His will. Surrender yourself, your life, your future entirely to Him and leave it at that… You must not go on asking God to show you His way. Leave it to Him and refuse to consider it until He makes it impossible for you not to do so.

Also remember…that “to be” comes before “to do”. That is where we all fail. Our business is to make ourselves such instruments as shall be fit and meet for the Master’s use. He always tells such people how and where and when He wants to use them. You prepare yourself and He will then show you what He wants you to do.

[Iain H. Murray, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Fight of Faith 1939-1981 (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1990), pp. 177-178.]

Over the past few months, I’ve grown to believe that Dr. Lloyd Jones may have been on to something when he said, “Don’t tell people what you are feeling and discuss it and ask for advice”. Sometimes, unfortunately, talking to fellow humans can be a waste of time, because they just can’t understand. Sometimes, only God truly understands. Loneliness is one means by which God can teach us to be totally dependent upon Him. Connected with Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ excellent counsel that “to be” comes before “to do”, I learn that my main business is to spend much time alone with God in prayer, depending upon God’s Spirit as I submit myself to the word of God.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Understanding and responding to homosexuality

Café Biblia has posted a very useful and biblically-informed article on homosexuality. You may read it here.