Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Desiring God prayer week

A few recent Desiring God posts on prayer:

Promises of Answered Prayer
"The best way to strengthen our faith and our resolve is to read what God has promised to those who pray. Here is a sampling:"

10 Reasons to Pray the Scriptures
"Here are some of the reasons you should pray and meditate over biblical truth."

What Should we Pray for?
"One way to answer this question is to look at what the early church prayed for. Here is a list gathered from the New Testament. It can guide you in how you pray. "

Saturday, September 27, 2008

long absence

I haven't posted for more than 3 weeks.

Since my last post, I've finished reading the Gospel of Mark and Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God. But, that's about it as far as spiritual things. I've been so busy now that I'm back at school and teaching Earth Science, Biology and World Religions. I have a Google Reader that is piling up with posts from Desiring God, Church Matters, etc. I have 58 unread posts on Challies Dot Com alone.

So, for the two people I know who read this blog--assuming one of them hasn't given up--I can ask for your prayers that I find a way to manage my time and get back on track.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Missions Monday - part 2

"Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few."
Matthew 9:37, ESV

Jennifer checked the mail this morning; she hadn't checked it since Friday. And when she opened a package, it contained two library books-by-mail: one for Charlotte and one for me. The book for me is J.I. Packer's Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God. It seems to be a short book, and I look forward to starting it later this afternoon.


Father, there are billions of people in this world who are living their lives as your enemies. They do not know you, and they sin against you constantly. If only they could come to know you and your great love. In the name of Jesus, I pray that you will send out missionaries into the world to share your good news. Send missionaries into the unreached nations; send missionaries who are willing to risk themselves for your glory and the salvation of those trapped by earthly lusts. And let your church be missionary in their hometowns. Give us a heart for reaching our neighbors. Send your Spirit ahead of us to open the hearts of those to whom we minister. For we do not bring them worldly wisdom; we do not speak with eloquent words. But instead we seek to demonstrate your Spirit.


Missions Monday

John Piper recently posted about praying for the suffering church in Orissa, India, where Christians are being blamed--and killed--by Hindus for the murder of a Hindu leader. Even though a communist revolutionary group has claimed responsibility for the murder, the Hindus insist the murder was part of a Christian missionary plot.

Piper cited Hebrews 13:3 as an example of why to pray for the suffering church.
“Remember those...who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

I'd also like to add Matthew 25:34-40 (ESV):
Then the King will say those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.

Father, your word says that Christians are being killed daily. "Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered." Yet your word also tells us, "in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us." Because of you, those of us who have been adopted into your family cannot be put to shame. We cannot lose our inheritance. We will be victorious when all things are made known.

Father, bring comfort to those in your church who are suffering through this persecution. Let them know that you are in control. Let them know that all things work for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purposes.

And I pray that in this time of trial, you will use your people in India to show your love and glory. May the Christians of that nation encourage one another and show forgiveness to those who seek to take their lives. May they be like Stephen, who as he was being stoned, saw your glory and sought his killers' salvation.

May those trapped in the evil of Hinduism see that there is a God of the universe and see their inability to warrant your favor. Call out from among them people who will become part of your family, people who will know what it means to find freedom from the seemingly endless cycle of sin and suffering.

And may those of us living in safer nations remember that we have received a blessing, like the Corinthian church, so that we can use our resources to help those in need. And may we be inspired to take on that missionary spirit among our own people, even to the point of risking our own lives to bring your good news to those who are dying apart from you.

In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Supplication - Ps 95

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

Psalm 95:1-7c, ESV

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

13 reasons to love God's word

Thursday Thirteen, 7th edition

13 reasons to love God's word, from Psalm 119

1. God has commanded that his word be obeyed (v. 4).

2. By keeping God's word, you "shall not be put to shame" (v. 6).

3. Keeping God's word stored in your heart prevents sin (v. 11).

4. God's teachings are better than material wealth (v. 14).

5. Love God's word because it is eternal and life on earth is temporary (v. 19).

6. Keeping God's word will keep God from having to teach you the hard way (v. 21).

7. Knowing God's word gives you answers to those who taunt you (v. 42).

8. God's word can provide comfort during times of hardship (v. 50).

9. Love God's word because it is true and he is faithful (v. 75).

10. Loving God's word builds hope in our eternal salvation (v. 81).

11. Knowing God's word will make your wise (v. 98).

12. The Holy Spirit helps you understand the word (v. 169).

13. Blessed are those who know and follow God's word (v. 1).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Missions Monday

In April 2002, Barack Obama was an Illinois Senator getting ready to vote against the Born Alive Act. Apparently, it was not uncommon during an abortion attempt for the "fetus, or child--however you want to describe it" to be born alive. The abortion doctor would then have to make a choice--a medical evaluation--to determine whether the now-born baby had a chance to live, or was a hopeless cause. If the baby had a chance, the doctor would, of course, have to try to save the baby. But, if the doctor determined the baby was going to die anyway, because it was too weak, or too injured, or too whatever, then the doctor could simply ignore the baby and let it die. Some people thought this was a little questionable, especially since doctors never seemed to conclude the baby has a chance to survive. So, the Born Alive Act would have required abortion doctors to call in another doctor and get a second opinion before simply letting the baby die.

These are the actual words of Obama during the Senate discussion of the bill:

As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child — however way you want to describe it is now outside the mother’s womb and the doctor continues to think that it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved.... [This bill] is really designed simply to burden the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion. Now, if that’s the case — and — and I know that some of us feel very strongly one way or another on that issue — that’s fine, but I think it’s important to understand that this issue ultimately is about abortion and not live births.

State of Illinois 92nd General Assembly Regular Session Senate Transcript, pp. 32-33
So, there is it. Obama voted against the bill because the issue, to him, is not about the "live births" of fetuses, babies, or however your want to describe them. To him, this issue is about not putting any "burden" on the woman or her doctor. Imagine the horrible burden on abortion doctors who would have to get a second opinion before letting a baby die.

Obama believes whether the fetus or baby is, in fact, a fetus or baby is "above [his] pay grade." And apparently, he thinks even a born baby, breathing on its own, outside the womb, is still questionable. And only the doctor who was paid to kill the baby in the first place--the doctor who just failed to kill the baby the preferred way--is able to determine whether the baby is fit to live or should be killed in a less preferred way.

What evil lives in the hearts of men.


Father, you are the God who created mankind; you made us in your image. And it did not take long before the sin of murder entered humanity. And that sin has continued on for all the generations. How evil is the heart of man when we can look at the killing of 50 million babies in this country and not have the will to call it utterly evil. Oh how evil the hearts are that cannot even bring themselves to decide whether a baby matters, or when a baby is deserving of even the most basic protection.

And, Father, I hear some people who call themselves Christians referring to this issue as some side-topic, at best, or some "distraction," at worst. Can anyone who knows you not see this evil and be filled with pain and anger? Can anyone who truly knows you not long to see this evil wiped off the face of the earth?

I pray that your church would be filled with righteous passion. Give us a passion to reach out to those who are so lost they would think of killing their own children. Give us a passion to care for them and with them, to give them help, and to show them the value of human life--value that comes from us not being mere animals, but being created in your image. And give us a passion to never stop proclaiming the truth that abortion is murder and your justice cannot be withheld forever. Every single one of us will one day stand before you and be held accountable for every act, even every careless word.

I pray that Barack Obama would come to know, before it's too late, that he will one day have to face you and see your response to his unwillingness to decide when a child is entitled to human rights. And I pray abortion doctors, before it's too late, will realize that will one day be held accountable for every murder. May these people see your glory and your salvation. For you are willing to forgive any sin, even murder. You called Saul, who murdered your chosen people, and you chose him to carry your good news throughout the nations.

And I also pray that we in your church will keep in our minds that we were once like them. We were filled with evil thoughts and deeds, and we deserved your wrath as much as any abortion doctor. But, we are saved by grace, through faith. We are not better; we are not naturally good, for there is no one who does good on his own. But, it is only because of your Spirit living in us that we are able to turn from our sinful ways and praise and honor you.

May the world see us, see our thankfulness to you, and come to know you through us. Remove their hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh. Call them and let them hear the voice of their shepherd.

May abortion become like slavery--an evil in our country's past. And may abortion end, like slavery, because your church stood up and defended the weakest among us.

In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Saturday Supplication

Prepare to meet thy God, O Christian! Betake thyself to thy chamber on the Saturday night, confess and bewail thine unfaithfulness under the ordinances of God; ashamed and condemn thyself for thy sins, entreat God to prepare they heart for, and assist it in, thy religious performances; spend some time in consideration of the infinite majesty, holiness, jealously, and goodness, of that God, with whom thou art to have to do in sacred duties; ponder the weight and importance of his holy ordinances...; meditate on the shortness of the time thou hast to enjoy Sabbaths in; and continue musing...till the fire burneth; thou canst not think the good thou mayest gain by such forethoughts, how pleasant and profitable a Lord's day would be to thee after such a preparation. The oven of thine heart thus baked in, as it were overnight, would be easily heated the next morning; the fire so well raked up when thou wentest to bed, would be the sooner kindled when thou shouldst rise. If thou wouldst thus leave thy heart with God on the Saturday night, thou shouldst find it with him in the Lord's Day morning.
George Swinnock, Works, I:234


Father, you are the God Most High, the eternal God, creator, sustainer, Lord of all powers. Pharaoh was your servant; Cyrus was your servant; every king, every governor, every tribal chief has been your servant. For you are in control of all; it was only by your permission, even your provocation, that Satan was allowed to torment Job. And it is only by your will that a small bird dies. As Job found, nothing can thwart your plans. No one is your counselor. There were no other gods beside you when you laid the foundation of the world. And there is no other god besides you that can save people.

Help me to appreciate your glory. Help me to contemplate your vastness, your power, your care and your wisdom that set the universe in motion and ordered its laws. Let me understand your greatness.

Father, I am a sinner. I am undeserving of your love. Yet, you chose to love me. And I love you because you first loved me. While I was still lost in my sinfulness, you called me and set me apart for your purposes. Before I was born, you sent Jesus to save me by dying on the cross for me. My freedom has been purchased by his blood. Help me to appreciate the reality of the cost.

I thank you for forgiving all my past sins and my future sins. Help me to truly repent of my sin; help me to see the sin for the evil it is and to hate the sin as you hate the sin. Help me see the sin that is still living in my heart.

Give me a Christ-like love for others. Let me see your image in people, and help me show them your love.

Help me reject laziness. Too often, I am like the rich man who desired nothing more than the relaxation afforded by storehouses of food. Yet, that fool did not realize he would not live to enjoy his wealth, or that he would have to account of himself to you. He wasted his life pursuing the god of his stomach; he lived in idolatry to himself. Do not let me make that mistake. Do not let me look back at my life in shame at the wastefulness of it all. Give me the wisdom and passion to live a life for your glory and to make the most of every opportunity.

Father, prepare my heart for the Lord's day, tomorrow. Prepare my heart to come together with other believers in worship. Prepare my heart to hear your word taught and to sing your word aloud. Let me put aside all pride and selfish ambition. Let me take that time to see my own smallness and your greatness. Let me take that time to worship Jesus as my lord and savior.

As your word is read and taught, open my heart to see your glory.
Let me see wonderful things in your instruction.
Let me store your word in my heart so that I will not sin against you.
Let me store your word in my heart so that I will have an answer for those who come against me. Let me store your word in my heart so that I will hope in your salvation.
Let me store your word in my heart because your word is truth and by it I can be made wise.
Let me store your word in my heart because it is eternal and will not return to your void.

You are a God of revelation. You have not hidden yourself from your people, but have revealed yourself to us through your word. Mat your word be taught throughout the world this Lord's day and may your church be one as you and Jesus are one.

I come and worship you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

13 common phrases that come from the Bible

Thursday Thirteen, 6th edition
13 everyday phrases that come from the Bible:

Scapegoat (Leviticus 16:8)

Eye for an eye (Exodus 21:24)

The apple of his eye (Deuteronomy 32:10)

The golden rule (Matthew 7:12)

Blind leading the blind (Matthew 15:14)

By the skin of our teeth (Job 19:20)

Can a leopard change his spots? (Jeremiah 13:23)

Drop in the bucket (Isaiah 40:15)

Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

Handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5:5)

Labor of love (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

Letter of the law (2 Corinthians 3:6)

My brother's keeper (Genesis 4:9)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

nurseries of wickedness

Following my prayer yesterday for my new school year, I happened across something on VoddieBaucham's blog about his attempt to get the Southern Baptist Convention to encourage California parents to pull their kids from public schools. In his post, he shared these words from John Wesley:

Let it be remembered, that I do not speak to the wild, giddy, thoughtless world, but to those that fear God. I ask, then, for what end do you send you children to school? “Why, that they may be fit to live in the world.” In which world do you mean, — this or the next? Perhaps you thought of this world only; and had forgot that there is a world to come; yea, and one that will last for ever! Pray take this into your account, and send them to such masters as will keep it always before their eyes. Otherwise, to send them to school (permit me to speak plainly) is little better than sending them to the devil. At all events, then, send your boys, if you have any concern for their souls, not to any of the large public schools, (for they are nurseries of all manner of wickedness,) but private school, kept by some pious man, who endeavours to instruct a small number of children in religion and learning together.

“But what shall I do with my girls?” By no means send them to a large boarding-school. In these seminaries too the children teach one another pride, vanity, affectation, intrigue, artifice, and, in short, everything which a Christian woman ought not to learn. Suppose a girl were well inclined, yet what would she do in a crowd of children, not one of whom has any thought of saving her soul in such company? Especially as their whole conversation points another way, and turns upon things which one would wish she would never think of. I never yet knew a pious, sensible woman that had been bred at a large boarding-school, who did not aver, one might as well send a young maid to be bred in Drury-Lane.

Wesley, John. (1836). Sermons on Several Occasions. p 305.
How true it is that most Christian parents send their kids to school with little thought other than that their kids are being prepared for life in the world. And how true it is that schools prepare their kids to be part of the world.


Father, you have been so kind to bless me with a little girl. May I be a good parent to her--not a good parent in the world's eyes, but a good parent in your eyes. May I raise her to know you, and may I always take responsibility for her education; when she is with me, may I teach her to know you. And on the occasions when I entrust her education to others, such as leaders in the church, may I be careful to ensure she receives an education that brings you glory.

If only more Christian parents would take leadership and responsibility for their children's educations, perhaps our children would change the world in ways we never imagined. And of course, for parents to ensure good education means the parents themselves must be educated. May we parents set the example for our children, showing them the value of wisdom and knowledge. May we set aside the frivolity and license of this world and devote ourselves to eternal glory. And may our children see in us a passion for you and a single focus on living God-glorifying lives.

I pray that Christian teachers throughout our schools would make a difference in the lives of children. May we teachers demonstrate to our children what it means to do everything for your glory. May we live and teach as ministers--servants--for the good of others. I pray that Christian teachers would serve as your witnesses among our students and our coworkers.

And I pray your church would devote themselves to helping parents raise their children to know you. For you have commanded your people to not only know you, but to teach our children to know you as well. May we speak and teach of your goodness and glory so that the young ears will hear, eyes will see and mind will understand your greatness.

I ask all these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Missions Monday

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:16-20, ESV


Father, you are a missionary God. From the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned, you sought them out. You called out to Adam and confronted him with his sin. And you cast them out of your presence and sealed off their path to the tree of life. But, you also promised to provide for their atonement. And throughout the generations until Jesus, your people looked forward to your promised salvation. And since that time, your people have lived with joy from their faith in Jesus--the knowledge that their sins are forgiven and they have been set free to live their lives for your glory.

You called out to Abraham and chose him to receive a blessing and promised that through him, all people groups would be blessed. You sent Jonah to the lost people of Nineveh and showed your care for even those who live their lives in evil. You gave us your law to show us that we are all evil; there is no one who does good. And you sent Jesus to show us that, despite our own weakness, we can be saved through your strength.

You have called your people to speak your word as they live their lives. You have called us to tell the people throughout the world about you. You have called
many of us to leave our homes and move to foreign nations so that your good news might be proclaimed among the people. I pray that you would bless those missionaries. And I pray that you will call more of us to take your good news throughout the earth. And I pray that your church would see the great task and devote themselves to sending missionaries.

And I thank you for the chance to live in America and to be a teacher. As a teacher, the nations come to me. Help me to be a witness for your glory as I live my life and do my job. Help my students see your love in me. Let me be a lamp for your light. Help me see my students and my coworkers as people you lovingly made in your image. Help me make the most of every opportunity. Give me wisdom to act according to your will. May Christian teachers throughout the world fulfill your purposes and communicate your glory to their students.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Supplication

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 1:3-12, ESV


Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus, through who you adopted me as your child. May your name be praised and celebrated throughout the earth. I pray that today, on our sabbath, your church across the globe will lift up their eyes toward you and sing of your glory. I pray that pastor-teachers around the world will proclaim your word with faithfulness and passion.

Thank you for your faithfulness to those members of your church who are suffering through persecution. Thank you for being faithful to your word and calling out people from among every tribe and nation. So many societies make it a crime to worship you, and the people of those societies continue to build up more and more wrath from you. But, may you withhold your wrath as you call more and more people out from those nations; continue to save people from your wrath.

And for your children in those societies, continue to strengthen them and build in them the abundant faith to carry them through their trials. Continue to build in them love for their fellow believers and for their persecutors. May they live as witnesses to your love and mercy, and may they show your glory through their lives.

Father, when the time is right, send Jesus back to claim his bride. May everyone in the church look eagerly forward to that day. And until that day, let us make the most of every opportunity; let us live by your wisdom, not being filled by the world, but being filled by your Spirit. Let your church, today and every day, put aside the worries and cares of this world, and live by faith in you.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Fruit of the Spirit series, Part 8

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness….
Galatians 5:22-23a, CSB

Fruit of the Spirit series, Part 8

So, what is gentleness? Is it a Mr Rogers-like quality? Is it being docile? Is it having a manicure? Or is it being a gentleman, holding doors for ladies and following other standards of cultural decorum?

The Greek word prautes means humbleness and modesty. The fruit of the Spirit is an attitude of humility and modesty before God and others. Shortly after writing about the fruit, Paul used the same word in Gal 6:1.

Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit (prautes), watching out for yourselves so you won't be tempted also.

So, when a fellow Christian sins, do not be afraid to confront the person. This is not a gentleness of fear or passivity. But, confront the person to restore him. A Christian is not seeking to demote, but to promote. And do so with an attitude of humility, knowing that you are not any better. We are all sinners and live by the grace of God. And further, seek to restore in humility because you know how easily you could fall into sin. Perhaps you may be tempted into the same sin. Or perhaps you may be tempted into the sin of pride for being above the sin of your fellow Christian. Or perhaps you may be tempted into the sin of despair at how your friend has sinned. Be humble and rely on God.

After all, we are saved by grace, through faith. As James 1:19-21 tells us:
My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man's anger does not accomplish God's righteousness. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly (prautes) receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.
Our natural inclinations are toward quick speaking and slow listening, quick anger and self-righteousness. But, we put our own selves aside and humbly take in the word of God. By that, we are saved.


Father, I come humbly to you knowing that you are the almighty creator of heaven and earth. And yet, I come boldly to you knowing that in Jesus, you have adopted me as your son and welcome me. Help me to be humble, trusting your goodness, your wisdom and your power above anything in me. But also give me boldness, that when I humbly trust you, I can faithfully live for you trusting that you are my hope and my help.

As I read your word, help me humbly absorb your instruction. Help me delight in your word and make it part of my soul.

When I see another person in need, give me the love and humility to reach out to that person and offer a helping hand. Help me lift up others; forgive me for the times when I seek, out of my own pride, to push others down. Help me understand that I am nothing more than a sinner saved by grace, and help me show that grace to others.

Bless your entire church with a sense of humility that leads us to build each other up and strengthen the entire body. A great arm is less useful with a weak hand. And a strong hand is less useful with a weak arm. Let the different parts of the body work together and strengthen each other.

I ask that you, especially, give a sense of humility to your missionaries around the world. Let them reach out to the lost and show the way to you. Let them, with humility, offer themselves for the good of those perishing apart from you. And bless their work by calling many to hear your word and respond with faith in your son. And bless all your people with a personal commitment to being missionaries to the lost surrounding them. Make us all fishers of men.

I ask all these things in the name of Jesus who humbly came to earth and lived a human life, even giving himself up to death on a cross, so that I could enjoy eternity with you. Amen.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

13 passages offering forgiveness

5th edition of Thursday Thirteen


For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don't forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.
Matthew 6:14-15

My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous One.
1 John 2:1

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

Therefore repent and turn back, that your sins may be wiped out so that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,
Acts 3:19

It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more. Take Me to court; let us argue our case together. State your [case], so that you may be vindicated.
Isaiah 43:25-26

"Come, let us discuss this," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool.
Isaiah 1:18

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
Ephesians 1:7

I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts.
Hebrews 10:17

Compassion and forgiveness belong to the Lord our God, though we have rebelled against Him
Daniel 9:9

He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13-14

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:12

Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD," and You took away the guilt of my sin.
Psalms 32:5

For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, abundant in faithful love to all who call on You.
Psalms 86:5

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

coming out of Exodus

After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor, and they cried out; and their cry for help ascended to God because of the difficult labor. So God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the Israelites, and He took notice.
Exodus 2:23-25, CSB

"You are to make a plate of pure gold and engrave it, like the engraving of a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD

Fasten it to a cord of blue yarn so it can be placed on the turban; the plate is to be on the front of the turban. It will be on Aaron's forehead so that Aaron may bear the guilt connected with the holy offerings that the Israelites consecrate as all their holy gifts. It is always to be on his forehead, so that they may find acceptance with the LORD.
Exodus 28:36-38, CSB


This past Sunday, I visited Trinity Presbyterian Church. During their education hour, they were discussing a Bible study method that seemed pretty good to me. The basic premise of the method is to follow these steps:
1. Preparation -- Think and pray about the fact that these are God's words
2. Focus -- Think and pray about the fact that God reveals his glory to me in these words
3. Wonder -- Think and pray about how wonderful is his glory
4. Opposition -- Think and pray about why my representation of his glory is so dim.
5. Opportunity -- Think and pray about what would be good for me to change.
6. Commitment -- Think and pray about what I am committed to changing.
There are many specific questions for each of the above steps, as well. For example, during preparation, I should also consider the author of the text and the condition of my soul as I prepare to read. During the focus step, I should consider the central idea or truth being taught in the text using terms such as "God is...," "God desires...," "God does...," etc.

Since I was reading through Exodus, in my Bible reading plan, I was thinking about this method in terms of Exodus. Although the teacher at the church used a short passage (Ps 146:5) for his example, I think this method can work for much longer passages, even entire books, as well.

So, when I think about Exodus, I think that the central truth is this: "The LORD is our salvation and he demands pure worship."

God is the only person in whom we can place our absolute trust. He is all powerful, omnipotent. Not even Pharaoh and his entire army could hinder God. And God is perfect and demands to be worshiped by his standards. Holy is the LORD. And we can see Christians, throughout history, living their lives by trusting God's salvation. William Tyndale and many other martyrs lived their lives trusting in the LORD, even to the point of death. And they sought to worship God is Spirit and in truth. Of course, it is only in heaven that we fully worship in Spirit and in truth. Then, in heaven, we will be like Moses who God spoke with face to face (Ex 33:11).

And why is my reflection of God's salvation and worth so dim? Because I am a sinner, by nature. I want to trust in my own salvation. I want to show myself worthy. But, I cannot save myself and I am only what God has made me. My self-reliance and self-aggrandizement is a terrible rejection of God's power, love, and authority. As I make myself out to be a god, I make God out to be less than he is. Thankfully, by the grace of God, he is working in me and making me more like his Son. He is transforming me. With God's help, I will continue to trust more in him and less in myself.


Father, you are so great. Your works among the Hebrew people are still encouraging today. Your great acts to free your people from Egypt and keep your promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, have been told for thousands of years. You heard your people's cry and you took notice of your people. May you be praised forever.

You led your people out of Egypt and you guided them through the desert. You gave them your word and taught them how to worship you. But, they could not and would not follow your instruction. So, in time, you made a new covenant. You sent your Son Jesus to call your people. You gave us your Spirit to replace our dead hearts with hearts alive in you. May we live by your Spirit.

Father, help me to put away my old sinful ways. Help me to trust in you for my salvation. You are my hope and my help. Give me a faithful heart.

In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Missions Monday

When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."
Matthew 9:36-38, CSB
Father, you are a great God, wonderful, full of compassion, full of grace, full of love, full of justice, full of righteousness. You are the greatest being in the universe; you created the universe for your glory. You created mankind as the crowning achievement of your creation, and you have chosen to make yourself known among us. How could mortals possibly know the eternal God except for your action to make yourself known to us. Thank you for speaking to the prophets, providing your written word, and sending Jesus to show yourself to us. May we delight in knowing you, and may we seek our whole satisfaction in you.
Father, make yourself known among the lost people of this earth. There are still so many people who have no one to tell them about you. Work in their hearts so that they can catch a glimpse of you through your creation. Let them look into the night's sky and see your glory. Let them look at the power and design of your creation and see your works. But also, Father, send them missionaries to carry your word to them. The fields are waiting for their harvest; send out workers.
And Father, continue to bless and work through those missionaries on the field right now. Give strength, courage and comfort to those missionaries far from home, far from their native cultures, who are carrying your word into places without a church. Encourage them in their difficult task, and let them know that you really are with them, even to the ends of the earth. And bless those missionaries who are working among people whose culture was once built upon the Christian faith, but has lost that background. They, too, have a uniquely difficult task. And as they work to rebuild the Christian theology among the people, may that rebuilding be done in the hearts and minds. Teaching Christian ideas is worthless if it does not result in a change of people's hearts, for true faith is a belief that you sent your Son to earth and that you raised him from the dead. May people throughout the world today hear that message and find the good news in that they, too, can be raised with Jesus. May they die to their sin and find life in you.
May all your people gladly give what they cannot keep to gain what they cannot lose. Help me to see that you are worth more than any other treasure.
I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Supplication - 08.10.08

Last Sunday, Between Two Worlds published this post on worship:
When Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 to present our bodies as living sacrifices, he is instructing us about a proper approach to worship.... When we gather as the people of God, as many of us will do this morning, we are called by God to present ourselves as living sacrifices, and that is the kind of worship/service (a priestly word in our passage) that will be pleasing to him.

What does that mean? Well, at least on one level it means that worship takes work. For the priest to offer a sacrifice, it meant a great deal of work on his part. So also with us. We come before the Lord to sing his praise, and confess our sin and hear his promise of forgiveness. We come before the Lord to confess our faith and hear his word. And it takes work and practice to do this together as the people of God. We should sing vibrantly; we should respond joyfully and clearly in corporate prayers and readings. We should be engage throughout the worship service. We should have attentive ears as the minister preaches the Word. We should participate in communion as if we have been lifted up into heaven to sit with Christ because indeed, that is where we are by faith. And we should leave with the blessing of God knowing that we are going out into this world as salt and light. In our culture, all of these issues take practice and patience. May the Lord give us the grace to lean against our cultural trends and present ourselves as living sacrifices to him.

Indeed, Father, give us the grace to lean against our cultural trends and present ourselves as living sacrifices to you. May we reject the consumerism of our culture. My we reject the selfishness of our culture. May we reject the consumerism and selfishness within our own hearts. May we come together this morning, around the world, to worship you with all our hearts, all our strengths, all our minds, and all our souls. May we focus more on the messages of our pastors than on the suits and ties of our pastors. May we focus more on the theology of our hymns than on the tempos of the music. May we see sweet things in your word and in your work among us. May we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, join together for the mutual support and encouragement of our family. May we build each other up and send each other out into the world to have an impact for you. And let us, through your Spirit, turn the world upside down. May we dedicate our entire beings to your glory.

In Jesus name. Amen.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Charlotte's birthday

Today, 08.08.08, Charlotte Moon turns 1 year old. She moves from baby to toddler. She is walking and knows some sign language. She even created her own sign for "hug." She's just so cute and lovable it is almost unbelievable.


Father, thank you for the wonderful gift of Charlotte Moon. All good things come from you, and having a child is an unparalleled blessing. Help me to be a good father. Help me model your love, discipline, compassion, grace, and wisdom for her. Help me to teach her about you so that she will come to love you with all her heart, all her mind, all her strength and all her soul. Work in her life and call her to know you. Help me plant a seed in her soul; but only you can make her grow spiritually. I pray that you will cause her to grow in you; conform her into the image of your Son.

Help me live my life so that she sees in me what it means to know you. Help me to be an encouragement to Charlotte. Help me care for her and guide her. And help me to trust her to your care.

Father, make Jesus the foundation of my household.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hermeneutics Part 3

I've been seeing a lot about hermeneutics in blogs lately. In part 3 (after 1 and 2) of my unintentional series of linking to others, John Walton discusses the biblical interpretation in children's curricula.

Dr. Walton states children's curricula often makes one or more of theses five mistakes:
1. Promotion of the Trivial
2. Illegitimate extrapolation
3. Reading Between the Lines
4. Missing important nuance
5. Focus on people rather than God
To read his explanations, click the link.

I think those problems exist in most church curriculum, children's and adults'.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

13 biblical passages about children

Special 4th edition of Thursday Thirteen in honor of my daughter, Charlotte Moon, on the last day of her first year.


Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Dt 6:5-7

And fathers, don't stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Eph 6:4

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
Pro 13:24

He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers to teach to their children
Psalm 78:5

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Dt 4:9

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so they won't become discouraged.
Col 3:21

A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren, but the sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.
Pro 13:22

The one who lives with integrity is righteous; his children who come after him will be happy.
Pro 20:7

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

This saying is trustworthy: "If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work." An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy—one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity.
1 Tim 3:1-4

Look! I am ready to come to you this third time. I will not burden you, for I am not seeking what is yours, but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.
2 Cor 12:14

In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence and his children have a refuge.
Pro 14:26

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest,eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalm 127:1-3

God's glory shown through a fridge

When you pray, don't babble like the idolaters,
since they imagine they'll be heard for their many words. Don't be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.
Matthew 6:7-8, CSB

When Jennifer I moved into our new home in June, it came with appliances. We didn't need the washer/dryer or the refrigerator. So, we decided to sell them. The washer/dryer sold pretty quickly, but the fridge just wouldn't sell. There was no interest, except for an Internet scammer who Jennifer reported to the FBI.

Yesterday, I decided to donate the fridge. Of course, the most obvious places to donate include Goodwill, a local Care Center, etc. But, I got the idea to call the Florida Baptist Children's Home in my town. As I was calling, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool if they had a need for a fridge?" Well, the Children's Home immediately accepted my offer and sent someone out today to pick it up.

One of the guys who picked it up told that just a couple days ago, the fridge in one of their homes quit working. Yesterday, a technician looked at it and decided it needed some $500+ part, so the Home decided they just needed a new fridge. It was later that day that I called offering a free brand-new fridge.


Father, thank you for knowing our needs before we know them. And thank you for caring about our needs. Of course, our greatest need is for you. We sinned against you and made ourselves your enemies. But, you saw our need and gave us Jesus. And you have continued to take care of us in countless ways. May I remember, everyday, that you supply my needs and I can trust you, for you love me more than the flowers of the field and will care for me even more than you care for them. If even a bird cannot die apart from your control, I have nothing to worry about under your care.

I praise you and thank you in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hermeneutics revisited

Not too long ago, Pure Church had an interesting post on a new book about preaching. I think his points can apply equally well to us layfolk because Bible reading should include preaching to one's self. I thought I'd add this post to compliment "Hermeneutics 101" posted on 8/3.


10 Tips from Grudem on Bible Interpretation

Grudem's chapter in Preach the Word offers some helpful reminders on correctly interpreting the Scripture.
1. Spend your earliest and best time reading the text of the Bible itself.

2. The interpretation of Scripture is not a magical or mysterious process, because Scripture was written in the ordinary language of the day.

3. Every interpreter has only four sources of information about the text: (a) The meanings of individual words and sentences; (b) the place of the statement in its context; (c) the overall teaching of Scripture; (d) some information about the historical and cultural background.

4. Look for reasons rather than mere opinions to give support to an interpretation, and use reasons rather than mere opinions to attempt to persuade others.

5. There is only one meaning for each text (though there are many applications).

6. Notice the kind of literature in which the verse is found.

7. Notice whether the text approves or disapproves or merely reports a person's actions.

8. Be careful not to generalize specific statements and apply them to fundamentally different situations.

9. It is possible to do a short or long study of any passage. Do what you can with the time you have, and don't be discouraged about all that you cannot do.

10. Pray regularly for the Holy Spirit's help in the whole process of interpreting the Bible.

Grudem goes on to encourage his readers to keep the "big picture" in mind with 6 other reflections.
1. The Bible is a historical document. Therefore, always ask, "What did the author want the original readers to understand by this statement?"

2. The original authors wanted the original readers to respond in some way. Therefore always ask, "What application did the original author want the readers to make to their lives?"

3. The whole Bible is about God! Therefore we should always ask, "What does the text tell us about God?"

4. The center of the whole Bible is Jesus Christ. The entire Old Testament leads up to him and points to him, and the entire New Testament flows from him. Therefore, we should always ask, "What does this text tell us about the greatness of Christ?"

5. All history can be divided into several major "ages" or "epochs" in salvation history. Therefore, we should read every passage of the Bible with a salvation history timeline in our minds and constantly remember where every passage fits on the timeline.

6. Themes: Because the Bible is a unity (it has one divine Author though many human authors), there are many themes that develop and grow from Genesis to Revelation. Therefore, for each significant element in any text, it is helpful to ask, (a) Where did this theme start in the Bible? (b) How did this theme develop through the Bible? and (c) Where is this theme going to end in the Bible?

Happy Bible interpreting!

Monday, August 4, 2008

still Missions Monday

It's still Missions Monday and I received an email from M in Asia. She'll be working with some new missionaries and asked for prayer as they adjust. She also asked for prayer for those new Christians she's working to disciple.


Father, help M and her teammates form a new team devoted to accomplishing your mission in Asia. Help them form a Christian bond together so that they can encourage each other and strengthen each other. Help them minister to each other and each of them ministers to the people of Asia.

Bless those new Christians among them. Give them the strength to resist those things that will try to pull them away from you. Give them courage to face any persecution and to stand for your glory and their salvation. Bless them and build them up, for M and others may plant the seed and water the seed, but only you can make it grow. And we can have confidence that you will make it grow, for we know that you will complete the work you have begun in their lives. You place your seal on each new believer and promise to keep them, through your power. And no plan of yours can be thwarted.

I praise you and pray to you in the name of Jesus, because the LORD saves. Amen.

Missions Monday

Father, thank you for being a missionary God. All the false gods of the world seek to be served by people, but you sent your son to die in service to us. You called your people out from the world; you chose us to be your people, adopted into your family. You gave us an inheritance that can never be taken away, an inheritance that will last for eternity. You have given us the right to enjoy eternity with you. While our adversary comes to us to destroy, Jesus came so that we could have life in abundance.

Jesus' last words to his disciples were telling us to take his good news throughout the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And for 2,000 years, Christians have been following Jesus' words and the Christian faith has spread through so much of the world, through so many nations, among so many people. Yet, after all that time, there are still too many people who have never even heard your good news. Too many people have never even heard of the freedom you offer--freedom from sin and its slavery, freedom from guilt, freedom from our deserved, eternal punishment.

Father, I pray that you would send out missionaries into the field. Send missionaries to the Bohra people of India who have no one to tell them. They lie trapped in Islam, seeking to serve you, but not knowing you. They lie trapped by the endless, impossible task of trying to be good enough to warrant your acceptance. Send them witnesses who can tell them your good news; you offer acceptance, not based on their deeds, but based on Jesus' life.

And send missionaries to the Majhi people of Nepal who remained trapped in Hinduism. They live in belief of an endless cycle of the universe, but they do not know the Creator of the universe. And they do not know that you have planned an end to this world. Send missionaries to tell them how to prepare for their ends.

And send missionaries to the Baori Hindus, and the Tanti Hindus, and the Charan Hindus of India. Each of these people wait to hear your word, living in darkness without anyone to bring them the good news.

The Dagbamba people of Ghana, the Makasar people of Indonesia, and the Persians of Iran live under the law of Islam. Free them by the power of your grace and mercy. Send them missionaries to carry your good news and bring them liberty.

And Father, put it in the hearts of your people to support and send missionaries. Call out from among us those who will carry your word to the ends of the earth. And put in the heart of every Christian to be part of this effort by contributing their resources and their prayers to support the work of worldwide missions.

I pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Hermeneutics 101

I found this guide on the New Attitude blog. You can download it as a PDF here.


Hermeneutics (hur-muh-noo-tiks) n. [Grk.]: the craft of interpreting Scripture

7 Questions to Ask Every Passage*

1. Who is the author and who is his audience?

2. Why is the author writing and what is his burden for his audience?

3. How does this verse connect to the rest of the chapter and the book the whole storyline of the Bible?

4. What does the language of the passage highlight and draw attention to? (e.g., parallels, word pictures, specific details, repetitive words/phrases)

5. What does this reveal about the nature of God and the nature of mankind?

6. How does this passage reveal our need for a Savior and Godʼs disposition to provide a Savior?

7. What response or action does this passage call for?

A Starter Bibliography: For Further Study
• Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul: Short and sweet. Start here.
• The Message of the Old Testament & The Message of the New Testament by Mark Dever: One chapter for each book of the Bible.
• Godʼs Big Picture by Vaughn Roberts: A helpful introduction to storyline of the Bible.
• The ESV Study Bible: Our favorite study Bible (or it will be when it releases this fall).
• Your Pastorʼs Sermons: Every week your pastor helps you interpret Scripture and apply it. Listen closely.

* Of course, these questions arenʼt meant to be exhaustive but may provide a helpful starting place.

© 2008 New Attitude.

The LORD has given you the Sabbath

Understand that the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day He will give you two days' worth of bread. Each of you stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day." So the people rested on the seventh day.
Exodus 16:29-30, CSB


Father, thank you for the gift of the Sabbath. That you for giving us a day of rest to refresh our bodies and minds and to worship you in spirit and in truth. After 6 days, you rested--not because you ever need rest, but to model rest for us.

As the members of Jesus' church gather today, around the world, bless us through your Spirit. Give us the desire--the passion--to worship you. Give us a heart for you and your glory. Let us see your majesty and power, your love and mercy. Let us see your goodness; and change us for your glory making us more like Jesus.

Let us be one, as you and Jesus are one. Let us truly be many parts of one body. Make us healthy as the body. Give us feet to carry your good news throughout the world. Give us a mouth to speak your truth to everyone on earth. Give us hands to care for those in need.

In Jesus name we come to worship you. Amen.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Making decisions should not be difficult

Challies has posted a relatively long (for a blog), but very interesting post on teaching children about God. In his discussion, he mentions how often he sees Christians struggle with discerning what God would have them do in specific situations. He wrote: "Making decisions should not be difficult. Hearing the voice of God and receiving guidance from Him is as simple as opening the Scriptures." Oh how true that is. He mentions a book by Sinclair Ferguson, Faithful God, that helped him. I would also like to add Bruce Waltke's Knowing the Will of God: A Pagan Notion? But, first, read Challies's post.


Father, thank you for being a God who does not hide your will from your children. Thank you for being a God of communication, of revelation. You have revealed yourself to your people. I think of the words of Augustine, who said, "Love God and do as you please." Help me to love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength and all my mind. If I do that, I cannot help but also love my neighbor as myself. And with those two greatest commandments, I can know your will in any situation. Do what is motivated by love of you and others. Do what honors you and shows your glory. Help me to do that, for in my body, I am weak. I am sinful. But through your Spirit, I am being changed and made into the image of your son, Jesus. May I be more like him every day. And in his name I pray. Amen.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why won't John Piper leave me alone?

Why won't John Piper leave me alone?

He harasses me when I watch TV. You see, I was once listening to his podcast, "Ask Pastor John," and he was discussing entertainment. He said he doesn't watch much commercial entertainment because most entertainment asks us to be entertained by things that Jesus died to end.

Now, that makes it a little more difficult to watch That '70s Show and Friends. And it's not a legalism thing; it's just reality. So now I sometimes hear John Piper when I try to watch TV. His words harass me.

So, what am I to do with my time? If I have people around, I guess I could talk to them. But what about when I'm alone? I can read a little, but not for hours; that's just not the way I roll. So, this evening, I turned off the TV, read a couple chapters of Exodus (book 3 in my reading plan) and then listened to some podcasts.

This evening, I was able to listen to a few short lectures about Exodus and the Covenant from Biblical Training, and I listened to a sermon on the reliability of biblical texts from Mark Dever. I could have watched re-runs of Everybody Loves Raymond and Friends, which is more my M.O. But, I think I might have done something better with my time.

Why won't John Piper leave me alone? Because the Holy Spirit is at work in me through his words.


Father, thank you so much for the wonderful gifts of godly teachers. Thank you for John Piper and Mark Dever. Thank you for the gracious ministries, such as Biblical Training, that make their resources available free for the building up of the body of Christ. Help me to desire you more than frivolous entertainment, for you are not a frivolous God. You are a God of purpose and focus. And you focus on your glory. Help me rejoice in your glory and the name of Jesus. Amen.

God hears our cries

After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor, and they cried out; and their cry for help ascended to God because of the difficult labor. So God heard their groaning, and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the Israelites, and He took notice.
Exodus 2:23-25, CSB


Father, you are so great and merciful. You are so compassionate and beneficent. We sinners do not deserve anything from you but your judgment. I do not deserve anything but your wrath and condemnation. And we all suffer because of our sinfulness. But, you hear our cries for help, and you remember your promises to our fathers. You save us out of your boundless love and grace. Oh, how great is your grace and how blessed are we to know you!

When you made your promises to our spiritual fathers, it was not because of anything they had done good. You chose Abraham, not because of his strength or righteousness, but because of your plan for your glory. It is through saving us in our weakness that your are shown to be strong, and how strong you are. Nothing stands in your way, not even Pharaoh and all his army. May your name be praised throughout the world.

Father, I cannot thank you enough, and I do not even feel enough thanks, to give you the praise you deserve for adopting me into your family, making me a child of Abraham. Give me the thankfulness I should have for you. Help me see, ever more clearly, the wonderful blessing I have in you. Help me know you more closely and deeply. Help me know you with breadth and depth and make you known through my witness.

Help me see wonderful things in word and treasure your word in my heart. Help me see Jesus in your word and see your unfolding plan of salvation through your prophets and your deeds.

Let me part of your continuing work today. Use me to advance your mission on earth. Help me reach out to those around me and love them as I love myself. Give me such a deep love for you, with all my soul, all my strength, and all my mind, that love for my neighbor naturally pours out. Help me be like a tree that bears good fruit, not for myself, but for those around me and for your glory.

Father, I pray for Heather. Heal her. Bless her. Let her know that you are there for her and that you hear her. Be her comfort. And bless her family through this time.

Bless your missionaries in China as that nation prepares for the Olympics. May this be a fruitful time and not a distraction. Be with those athletes that compete for your glory. And use this time to remind your children throughout the world that, like the Olympic runners, we are to run so as to claim our prize.

Because you heard the cries of Israel, I can know that you will also take notice of me. In whatever trouble I experience, you are not absent. You are there for me and with me. Your Spirit and your word guide me. Help me live by your Spirit and your word, and help me find refuge in your presence.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

13 deaths in the Bible

"13 deaths in the Bible," Thursday Thirteen, 3rd edition

1. Abraham’s death:
He took his last breath and died at a ripe old age, old and contented, and he was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite.
Genesis 25:8-9

2. Rachel’s death
With her last breath—for she was dying—she named him Ben-oni, but his father called him Benjamin. So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Jacob set up a marker on her grave; it is the marker at Rachel’s grave to this day.
Genesis 35:18-20

3. Issac’s death
He took his last breath and died, and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. His sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
Genesis 35:29

4. Jacob’s death
When Jacob had finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and died. He was gathered to his people.
Genesis 49:33

5. Joseph’s death
So Joseph made the Israelites take an oath: “When God comes to your aid, you are to carry my bones up from here.” Joseph died at the age of 110. They embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.
Genesis 50:25-26

6. Moses’ death
So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, as the LORD had said. He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab facing Beth-peor, and no one to this day knows where his grave is.
Deuteronomy 34:5-6

7. David’s death
As the time approached for David to die, he instructed his son Solomon…. Then David rested with his fathers and was buried in the city of David.
1 Kings 2:1,10

8. John the Baptist’s death
Although the king regretted it, he commanded that it be granted because of his oaths and his guests. So he sent orders and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. Then his disciples came, removed the corpse, buried it, and went and reported to Jesus.
Matthew 14:9-12

9. Stephen’s death
Then they screamed at the top of their voices, stopped their ears, and rushed together against him. They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They were stoning Stephen as he called out: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin!” And saying this, he fell asleep.
Acts 7:57-60

10. Uzzah’s death
When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.
2 Samuel 6:6-7

11. Ahaziah’s death
Then Elijah said to King Ahaziah, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron—is it because there is no God in Israel for you to inquire of His will? You will not get up from your sickbed; you will certainly die.’” Ahaziah died according to the word of the LORD that Elijah had spoken.
2 Kings 1:16-17

12. Saul’s death
The Philistines overtook Saul and his sons and killed his sons, Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers caught up with him and severely wounded him. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised men will come and run me through and torture me.” But his armor-bearer would not do it because he was terrified. Then Saul took his sword and fell on it.
1 Samuel 31:2-4

13. Jesus’ death*
When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
John 19:30

* Jesus rose from the dead 3 days after his death.

recent blogs I read

Thank God for his holy, righteous goodness
Stacey's reflections on whether God is good

Thank God for godly parents
Molly Piper's reflections on her 3-year old's very short trip to Kenya

Thank God, especially, for godly adoptive parents
Jason Kovacs on The ABBA Fund

Thank God for biblical archaeology
The ESV Study Bible and Jesus' tomb


Father, thank you. Thank you for your wonderful creation, which you have given to people and which you have used to shine your glory. The stars of the sky and the waves of the sea, and every living creature on earth, are a constant testimony to your power and majesty.

Thank you for the wonderful care you provide your people. Thank you for being a God of goodness, mercy and compassion. You are not arbitrary; everything you do is for a particular purpose--your glory. And may your name be glorified. You are truly a God of wonders. And you have given your instruction to your people so that we can know you and have a relationship with you. Bring us closer to you and help us know you better, more deeply.

Father, I thank you for the great blessing of parents. And may your people who are parents see their parenting as an act of worship. May we see our children as precious gifts from you and may we see ourselves as stewards of your children. May Christian parents desire for their kids to mature into devoted disciples who bring you glory, whether that is near home or in a far off land. And Father, I praise you for all the Christian families who have seen your model of adoption and have chosen to adopt children into their families. Bless those families and help them unite together for your glory.

And Father, I thank you for the wonderful witness your people have today through biblical archaeology. In recent decades, so much evidence has come concerning the historical trustworthiness of the biblical accounts. And through discoveries, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, we can see how your word has been faithfully preserved through the centuries. Bless your people with confidence in you.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I completed a reading of Matthew

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
Matthew 1:22, CSB

I have just finished Matthew, the second book in my Bible reading plan.


Father, thank you for the amazing witness you have given your people through your word. You sent so many messengers to prepare the way for the Messiah, and you gave so many clues to his coming. And Jesus fulfills every one. Blessed is the person who has not seen and yet has believed. And you have given us such great cause to believe because your truth has been recorded and carefully passed on through thousands of generations.

Thank you for all those reverent saints who tirelessly cared for your word and copied your word for future readers. I praise you for the wonderful witness of those believers who were willing to risk their own lives to put your word into the hands of your children.

Thank you for preserving your word through the ages so that I could read today how Jesus fulfilled your promises. And because you have kept every promise in the past, I can have faith you will keep your promises in the future. Because you could cause Caesar to hold a census to get your son to be born in Bethlehem, I know nothing is too big for you. Because you told centuries ahead of time the price put on Jesus, I know no detail is too small for your attention.

Father, I can sleep tonight knowing that you are in control and I am in your care. I do not know the future, but I know that you control the future. So, I trust myself to you. I trust myself to your grace and compassion. I know that you, having given your own son to rescue me from my sin, will not withhold anything good from me.

Strengthen my faith and help me live by your love. Help me grow to be more like you. Help me keep your glory in thoughts and make your glory my motivation. Help me rejoice in you.

In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

13 Things to Pray for

In my 2nd Thursday 13, I have decided to list 13 things to pray for.

Pray for your enemies (Mt 5:44)
Pray for God’s glory to be known (Mt 6:9)
Pray for God to send missionaries throughout the world (Mt 9:38)
Pray for the kingdom of God to come (Lk 11:2)
Pray God will provide for your daily needs (Lk 11:3)
Pray for forgiveness (Lk 11:4)
Pray that your faith will not fail (Lk 22:32)
Pray that you will not fall into temptation (Lk 22:40)
Pray for God to protect you from Satan (Lk 17:15)
Pray for boldness in witnessing (Acts 4:29)
Pray for your plans (Ro 1:10)
Pray for the salvation of others (Ro 10:1)
Pray for spiritual maturity (2 Cor 13:9)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

faith from the Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faith….
Gal 5:22, CSB

Part 7 in my fruit of the Spirit series

To be a Christian is to bear the fruit of the Spirit. So, what does it mean to bear faith? The Greek word used in Gal 5:22 is pistis, which means a conviction as to the truth of something. In the New Testament, it typically signifies a conviction that salvation is the gift of God through Jesus. And this faith is a dominant theme throughout the book of Galatians, so we can see what it means to Paul.

In Gal 2:16a, Paul wrote that “we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by faith [pistis] in Jesus Christ.” He reiterated justification by faith in 3:24 where he wrote: “The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith [pistis].” The law was merely a guardian (“tutor” in NASB) until God gave us faith in Christ. And because we are justified by faith, we should live by faith; Gal 3:11 states, “Now it is clear that no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous will live by faith [pistis].”

And by faith, we are adopted into the family of God; as Paul wrote in Gal 3:26: “For you are all sons of God through faith [pistis] in Christ Jesus.” And faith is what unites the members of God’s family. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith [pistis]” (Gal 6:10).

So, faith—the conviction that our salvation comes through the substitutionary death and resurrection of Jesus—is the foundation of our salvation. Salvation begins with faith. But, faith is also the guiding principle of the Christian life, and faith is the uniting feature of the Christian church.

Faith, as a fruit of the Spirit, is something given to us by God’s Spirit. The faith that makes us Christian and saves us is given to us by God. And that faith is what characterizes the church—not ethnicity or language, wealth or station in life. The church is composed of people whom God has blessed with faith--those who heard the voice of Jesus and responded by trusting in him.


Father, thank you for the gift of faith. Thank you for making salvation dependent upon the work of Jesus and not my works through the law. Thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross in my place. My rebellion against you made me deserving of eternal punishment, but you, through your love, compassion and mercy, sent Jesus to wash away my sins by his blood and bring me into relationship with you. And through your Spirit, you opened my heart to hear your word and respond in faith.

Faith is conviction about what I do not see. But that faith builds hope in me that I will one day stand in your presence and delight in your glory. Father, help me continue in faith so that I may live by faith and live my life, not with fear, but with hope. Continue the good work you have begun in me and bring me closer to you.

I pray that in due time, you will bless Charlotte Moon with faith that she may join your family. Help me and Jennifer, as her parents, model your character to her. Help us, through our lives, show her your character as she grows up, even before she is old enough to think about you. And as she matures, help us point her toward you; let her see your glory and grant her faith in your son.

Bless your church, Father, and help us see our unity in faith. Help us see each other as members of Christ’s body. And help us be a light to this dark world.

I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Monday, July 21, 2008

In the beginning

I have just finished reading Genesis--the first book completed through my new Bible reading plan. And here are a few quick observations about Genesis:

1) All the prophets testify about Jesus. "If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, because he wrote about Me" (Jn 5:46). In Genesis 48:10, I read: "The scepter will not depart from Judah, or the staff from between his feet, until He whose right it is comes and the obedience of the peoples belongs to Him." And Gen 22:18 states, "All the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring because you have obeyed My command."

2) As Tim Keller has noted, the Bible is counter-cultural. In ancient cultures, the eldest son was the blessed son and the one who received the inheritance. But, in Genesis, the eldest son is not the blessed one. Cain was the eldest and killed the younger son who pleased God. Abraham's eldest son Ishmael was not the promised and chosen son; that was Isaac. Isaac's eldest son was Esau, but Jacob received the blessing. Of Jacob's 12 sons, it was Joseph that God chose to use for the salvation of his family. In fact, at his death, Jacob pronounced this on his eldest: "Turbulent as water, you will no longer excel..." (Gen 49:4a). And just prior to that, Jacob went to bless Joseph's youngest son and Joseph tried to correct him.
When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim's head, he thought it was a mistake and took his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's. Joseph said to his father, "Not that way, my father! This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head." But his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know! He too will become a tribe, and he too will be great; nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his offspring will become a populous nation. (Genesis 48:17-19)
3) The characters of the Bible trust the sovereignty of God. Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac because of his faith in God's provision (Gen 22). Joseph saw all the bad things that happened to him as the will of God.
And now don't be worried or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there will be five more years without plowing or harvesting. God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt. (Gen 45:5-8a)
4) There is an amazing continuity in the Bible. Joseph and Job both saw everything, good and bad, as part of God's sovereignty and wisdom. Throughout the Bible, God chooses nobodies to do incredible things; an old nomad with no kids becomes father to millions and to the Messiah. The Messiah is born to a poor family in a small hamlet. But, of course, that birthplace was foretold because it was also where God called a poor shepherd boy--the youngest in his family--to become the great king. And finally, there is the constant theme of trusting God to fulfill his promises and be kind to his people.


Father, 0pen my eyes so that I may see wonderful things in your instruction. Help me understand the meaning of your teachings so I may meditate on your wonders. Teach me, Father, and help me follow your way. Put your word in my heart and teach me to love your wisdom. Help me to follow your teaching and to take pleasure in your word. Turn my heart to your word and not toward temporary temporal riches. Turn my eyes from what is worthless to focus on what is priceless. May I be like the rich man who found the treasure in the field and gladly sold everything to buy that field. Make me like the good soil that hears your word and bears good fruit. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.