Wednesday, August 31, 2011


2 Corinthians 5:14-15    For Christ's love constrains us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and … that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

            Christianity is supposedly a limit to personal growth and potential because it constrains our freedom to choose our own beliefs and practices…. Freedom cannot be defined in strictly negative terms, as the absence of confinement and constraint. In fact, in many cases, confinement and constraint is actually a means to liberation…. If you have musical aptitude, you may give yourself to practice, practice, practice the piano for years. This is a restriction, a limit on your freedom. There are many other things you won’t be able to do with the time you invest in practicing... you’ve deliberately lost your freedom to engage in some things in order to release yourself to a richer kind of freedom to accomplish other things.
            One of the principles of love – either love for a friend or romantic love – is that you have to lose independence to attain greater intimacy. If you want the “freedoms” of love – the fulfillment, security, sense of worth that it brings – you must limit your freedom in many ways. You cannot enter a deep relationship and still make unilateral decisions or allow your friend or lover no say in how you live your life. To experience the joy and freedom of love, you must give up your personal autonomy… A love relationship limits your personal options… Human beings are most free and alive in relationships of love. We only become ourselves in love, and yet healthy love relationships involve mutual, unselfish service, a mutual loss of independence. C. S. Lewis put it eloquently:

“Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

The Reason For God, by Timothy Keller, pg. 45-48.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Psalm 45:10-11           Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father's house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.

             Faith is very fragile and needs to hear the command: “Forget your father’s house.” Something inside of us strongly compels us to keep trying to earn God’s approval. We look for good works, in which we can place our trust and which will bring us praise. We want to show God what we have done and say, “See, I have done this or that. Therefore, you must pronounce me righteous.”         

None of us should be overconfident when it comes to forgetting our own good works. Each one of us carries in our heart a horrible religious fanatic. We would all like to be able to do something so spectacular that we could brag. “Look what I’ve done! With all my prayers and good works, I’ve done enough for God today that I can feel at peace.” This happens to me too after I have accomplished something in my ministry. I’m much happier than if I hadn’t done it. Being happy isn’t wrong in itself. But this joy is impure because it isn’t based on faith. It’s the kind of happiness that can make your conscience confused. Consciences are delicate. We need to guard them against the sin of arrogance. So we can’t be overconfident. We who confess Christ should always walk in fear and grow in faith. We should re3alize that we all carry in our hearts a horrible religious fanatic, who will destroy our faith with foolish delusions of good works.

The Holy Spirit provides us with a way to counter this godless delusion. We need to hold tightly to what we have received through the grace of God. God’s approval doesn’t come to us by what we do. Rather, it comes through the holiness of Christ, who suffered for us and rose again from the dead.

Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, By Martin Luther. March 1.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Romans 6:11-13    In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires...but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life.  

            We must appreciate the gravity of that with which sanctification is concerned. There are several respects in which this must be viewed. All sin in the believer is the contradiction of God’s holiness. Sin does not change its character as sin because the person in whom it dwells and by whom it is committed is a believer… Remaining, indwelling sin is therefore the contradiction of all that he is as a regenerate person and son of God…The presence of sin in the believer involves conflict in his heart and life.

            There must be a constant and increasing appreciation that though sin still remains it does not have the mastery. There is a total difference between surviving sin and reigning sin, the regenerate in conflict with sin and the unregenerate complacent to sin. It is one thing for sin to live in us: it is another for us to live in sin. It is one thing for the enemy to occupy the capital; it is another for his defeated hosts to harass the garrisons of the kingdom. It is of paramount concern for the Christian and for the interests of his sanctification that he should know that sin does not have the dominion over him, that the forces of redeeming, regenerative, and sanctifying grace have been brought to bear upon him in that which is central in his moral and spiritual being, that he is the habitation of God through the Spirit, and that Christ has been formed in him the hope of glory. This is equivalent to saying that he must reckon himself to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ his Lord. It is the faith of this fact that provides the basis for, and the incentive to the fulfillment of, the exhortation, “Let not sin therefore reign”. In this matter the indicative lies at the basis of the imperative and our faith of fact is indispensable to the discharge of duty. The faith that sin will not have the dominion is the dynamic in bond service to righteousness and to God so that we may have the fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life. It is the concern of sanctification that sin be more and more mortified and holiness ingenerated and cultivated.

Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray, pg.145.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


1 John 2:15-17    Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

            The last reason given by John for not loving the world is that if we love the world, it means we do not truly understand this great gospel of salvation. ‘The world passeth away,’ says John, ‘and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.’ What he means is this: if you still love the world and the things that are in it, then it is clear that you have never understood the principles of sin. Cannot you see that all that belongs to the world is passing away? All these things, says John, are disappearing, they are dying, You may be proud of your personal appearance, but you will soon be old and haggard. You will be dying, and then you will have nothing to boast of, it is all passing. Oh fool, to glory in something that is so transient! Wealth, riches, learning, knowledge, social status and all these things, they are vanishing, they have the seeds of death in them. Christian people, how can we glory in things like that? It means we are blind to our own gospel which starts by telling us that all that is under the wrath of God and will be destroyed. It is all going to perdition and eternal destruction; so those who live for these things, therefore, are utterly inconsistent and show that they have never understood that if they belong to that realm they will be destroyed to all eternity. They must come out of and escape from it, and they should glory in the fact that there is a new life and realm, a new kingdom, and if they belong to this, they will abide forever.

‘So,’ says the Apostle, ‘that is my injunction to you; realize these truths; do the will of God; do not be concerned about your own desires; Do the will of God, and if you do that, you will abide for ever. You will be building up a firm foundation, a building which will be tried and tested as by fire, but because it consists of god and precious metals and not of wood, hay and stubble, it will last and it will stand the test. And when you arrive in glory, your works will follow you and you will rest in eternal joy from your labors.’

Life In Christ: Studies in 1 John, By Martyn Lloyd-Jones, pg. 221-222.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Romans 3:21-24    But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

            How does God create a community of saints out of sinful men and women? How can he avert the reproach of unrighteousness if he makes a covenant with sinners? How can the sinner become righteous without impairing the righteousness of God? The answer is that God justifies himself by appearing as his own advocate in defense of his own righteousness. And it is in the cross of Christ that this supreme miracle happens. It is necessary for the sinner to be parted from his sin and still live before God. But so closely is his life identified with sin that the only way in which that can be achieved is by dying. That is to say, the only way for God to maintain his righteousness is by putting the sinner to death. The problem is, how can the sinner live, and be holy before God?
            This problem is solved by God himself becoming man, taking upon him our flesh in his Son Jesus Christ, and in his body bearing our flesh to the death of the cross. In other words, by putting his own Son, the bearer of our flesh, to death, he puts to death flesh on earth. Now it is revealed that none is good, save God alone and that none is righteous but he. Thus God has given terrible proof of his own righteousness. In order that he alone might be righteous, it was necessary for God to deliver the whole human race to death on the cross in judgment of his wrath.

            Thus the only way we can be righteous in the sight of God is by recognizing that he only is righteous, and we ourselves sinners in the totality of our being. 

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1963.

Friday, August 26, 2011


John 21:3-6    Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered. He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some."

The post-resurrection accounts of Jesus are hardly a spiritualized set of epiphanies, ghost stories, as it were, séances with dim visions into the future or the past. They are told in the most tangible, fleshly fashion possible. They are told around food and drink... They are told to remind us that this other side is tangible and real, not a ghostly metaphor but something that lives in living people here and now, and that you do not have to die to know the resurrected life.

            “Children, have you any fish?” “Have you satisfaction, have you pleasure, have you success? Have you achieved what it is you spend so much time doing?” You and I know that the answer to that has to be, “No”. Then what is the response to that? “Try the other side”. Cast your net in some other area, in some other place. Try something else, something new, something different, try responding to the invitation that Jesus Christ gives us. For so many of us, living consists of maintaining unfulfilled lives, doing what we do because we cannot imagine doing anything else. When Jesus says to try the other side, he is offering new life to those of us who are trapped in making a living and not in making a life. He is offering the possibilities of freedom, freedom from our routine and the captivity of what we’ve always done, and freedom for a new and abundant life that is full to overflowing.

            What happens to our fishermen on the other side? They are transformed; and you and I are the result of their transformation. They’re not made over instantly, abracadabra, but they grow in awareness of self and of Christ. They develop, they become rehabilitated witnesses of the risen Christ in a fallen world. Peter who denies and lies becomes his preacher, his martyr, his prophet. The rest of them go on not simply to glory but to witnessing Christ in the world. They become the community of the faithful whose heirs you and I are. They live fully before they die gloriously.

Sermons: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living by Peter J. Gomes, pgs.84-85.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Romans 1:16-17    I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last…

             Were it not for the resurrection, we would have no choice but to preach Jesus as example, law, or obligation. But, there is no good news in that! The demand to be like Jesus or to do what he says is only the intensification of the law. Where people cease to believe the resurrection or else treat it as a miracle of the past, they also tend to preach Jesus within the context of works righteousness. Therefore, instead of being a gift of God’s wondrous love, Jesus becomes another Moses who makes impossible demands on top of the ones we already have. Such a message cannot reveal the righteousness of God which was disclosed in Christ. For the righteousness of God disclosed in Christ features a God who acts on behalf of persons who fail to measure up to the law. The distinction of the gospel is that it offers salvation precisely to those who fail to measure up to the standards of the law…. Therefore, wherever the message of the gospel is proclaimed, the living Lord makes happen again what happened originally. Now we can understand how Paul can say that the gospel is not simply a piece of information about the past, nor is it simply a piece of doctrine about God’s power. It is rather the means, the instrument, by which God’s power is revealed for those who believe.
             To summarize: The gospel is not a report about God’s power but an event in which God’s power 
becomes operative when it is believed. This is because in the preaching and believing of the gospel, God’s righteousness is not God’s fairness by which God gives everyone what is deserved, but God’s act of setting things right precisely where no one deserves it. For in the gospel a revelation of God’s true character happens, a character set forth in the event called Jesus Christ…. Moreover, I repeat, there can be no Christian conversion without the gospel. Christian conversion does not happen by simply talking about it… Christian conversion happens when the gospel is communicated and when there is response to it. It is only the person who trusts God as the gospel presents God who experiences Christian conversion.

The Mystery and Meaning of Christian Conversion, by George E. Morris, pgs. 75-77.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Romans 8:3-4    For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

            But the riddle of human nature was still unsolved. With the loss of the God-like nature God had given him, man had forfeited the destiny of his being, which was to be like God. In short, man had ceased to be man. He must live without the ability to live. Herein lies the paradox of human nature and the source of all our woe. Since that day, the sons of Adam in their pride have striven to recover the divine image by their own efforts. The more serious and devoted their attempt to regain the lost image and the more proud and convincing their apparent success the greater their contradiction to God. Their misshapen form, modeled after the god they have invented for themselves, grows more and more like the image of Satan, though they are unaware of it. The divine image, which God in his grace had given to man, is lost forever on this earth.

            But God does not neglect his lost creature. He plans to re-create his image in man, to recover his first delight in his handiwork. He is seeking in it his own image so that he may love it. But there is only one way to achieve this purpose and that is for God, out of sheer mercy, to assume the image and form of fallen man. As man can no longer be like the image of God, God must become like the image of man. But this restoration of the divine image concerns not just a part, but the whole of human nature. It is not enough for man simply to recover right ideas about God, or to obey his will in the isolated actions of his life. No, man must be re-fashioned as a living whole in the image of God. His whole form, body, soul and spirit, must once more bear that image on earth. Such is God’s purpose and destiny for man.


The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pg. 338.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


 Matthew 5:17-18 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 

            Christ said that only he who wills to do the will of the Father in heaven will know whether his teaching is from God. Understand, only he who does the will, who is in earnest about it, who stakes his life on it. God is known only by those who venture, just as all great things in life are seen only when we are obedient and downright serious about them and not when we look at them from the easy chair of speculation and noncommittal curiosity. And something more: don’t think you will get by with a little philosophy like ‘do right and fear no man’. Your talisman doesn’t trouble you at this point at all; it’s far from exercising even a bit of moral control over you. But with Christ the first thing you will be shown is that never in a thousand years will you be able to stand up before God.

At first Christ is always very disturbing. You are dealing with the God who leads men into hell and out again. You are a nice, easygoing worldling (you don’t mind my saying this straight out?) and you have settled down comfortably in your world-view. You are really convinced that you have not settled down in hell. But if you are in earnest with Christ, you will have to give up your comfort and peace of mind, not because you are supposed to become a nervous worrier, but because it is a false, delusive peace, which you keep propping up with the power of suggestion and your little magic devices. But God loves the brokenhearted and the poor in spirit who have no illusions about their won wretchedness as they stand before the face of God. As long as you have not met God as one who opposes you, you haven’t met him at all…You have already gained a great deal in at least coming to the point where you realize that these things you are waking and standing on are only tottering makeshifts and that beneath you lies an abyss.

            The thing in this conversation which seems to me to be important for the understanding of our texts is this: that at the very beginning and as a kind of introduction to discipleship, Christ makes us feel the implacable severity of the law and thus leads us to death.

Life Can Begin Again by Helmut Thielicke, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1963, pg.39.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Ephesians 6:10-18        Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

            An army that goes to war makes elaborate preparations. They begin by gathering all the resources and people they will need. In gathering resources, the army determines its own weaknesses. Preparations and strategies are put in place to maximize their strengths and shore up their deficiencies. Every soldier is given a specific duty and equipped for their role. The enemy themselves are studied. What is their strengths, weaknesses and resources. Where is the enemy located, what are their strategies and plans. When the army is ready they move forward into the enemies territory. You can only defeat an enemy when their territory is overrun and occupied. The army takes the offensive. Each individual involved in battle is fighting for their life. This requires determination, watchfulness and diligence on the part of every combatant.

            The Christian, too, is in a war. They battle against principalities and powers in the physical and spiritual realms. Preparation begins by gathering the resources God has provided. The Scriptures are studied and applied to each soldier. Roles are assigned to each Christian according to God’s gifting of them. Prayer, Bible study and Christian counsel are used to prepare and equip each person for personal engagement with the enemy. Inventories of strengths and weaknesses in each person’s life are reviewed. Spiritual leaders direct the army of believers assigned to him. Goals and plans are assigned according to each person’s area of life responsibility. Each person is fitted with the full armor of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

Prayer:     Lead us our great Jehovah. Cradle us in your arms as we do battle against our foes. Empower our weaponry in order to destroy the strongholds of Satan. Allow us to see victory in the lives of those who were once lost, but who are now found in Christ. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011


1Timothy 1:15-16 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

            When Christ is presented to lost men in the proclamation of the gospel, it is as Saviour he is presented, as one who ever continues to be the embodiment of the salvation he has once for all accomplished. It is not the possibility of salvation that is offered to lost men but the Saviour himself and therefore salvation full and perfect. There is no imperfection in the salvation offered and there is no restriction to its overture – it is full, free, and unrestricted. And this is the warrant of faith.

            The faith of which we are now speaking is not the belief that we have been saved but trust in Christ in order that we may be saved. And it is of paramount concern to know that Christ is presented to all without distinction to the end that they may entrust themselves to him for salvation. The gospel offer is not restricted to the elect or even to those for whom Christ died. And the warrant of faith is not the conviction that we are elect or that we are among those for whom, strictly speaking, Christ died but the fact that Christ, in the glory of his person, in the perfection of his finished work, and in the efficacy of his exalted activity as King and Saviour, is presented to us in the full, free, and unrestricted overture of the gospel. It is not as persons convinced of our election nor as persons convinced that we are the special objects of God’s love that we commit ourselves to him but as lost sinners. We entrust ourselves to him not because we believe we have been saved but as lost sinners in order that we may be saved. It is to us in our lost condition that the warrant of faith is given and the warrant is not restricted or circumscribed in any way. In the warrant of faith the rich mercy of God is proffered to the lost and the promise of grace is certified by the veracity and faithfulness of God. This is the ground upon which a lost sinner may commit himself to Christ in full confidence that he will be saved. And no sinner to whom the gospel comes is excluded from the divine warrant for such confidence.

Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1955, pg.109.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Genesis 1:1-3 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

            Primarily, the initial test, the characteristic of the revelation of the Bible, the first crucible, in a sense, of the Christian faith, is that it starts with God. We are silenced, we are put into the background, we are not considering man first and foremost. It is God, it all starts with Him – ‘In the beginning, God’ – and He is at the center. The very term theology should remind us of that. Theology does not mean knowledge concerning man; primarily it is knowledge of God.

            So this is of supreme importance to us as we come to consider the whole question of fellowship and walking with God and of enjoying the life of God. Most our troubles are due to our self-centeredness and concern for ourselves. The psychologists are aware of that and they have their own way of dealing with it, but they do not really meet the situation and the problem. They are only temporarily successful, because the whole time they are pandering to this self within us. No, the way to be delivered from self-centeredness is to stand in the presence of God.

            According to the Bible the initial cause of man’s ills is that, having been created in the likeness and image of God, instead of living a life in subservience to God, man, alas, suddenly exalted himself and claimed a kind of equality with God; and it is his own self-assertion that has led to all his perplexities. Is not the position in which we find ourselves the same situation as that of the people who have gone before us in all ages and at all times? We begin to see that our fallacy is to exaggerate our own twentieth century with its problems. We see we are paying too much attention to our environment and conditions, and we suddenly come back and face this ultimate, absolute truth – that we are all ultimately in the presence of God.

Life In Christ: Studies in 1 John, By Martyn Lloyd-Jones, pg. 96.

Friday, August 19, 2011


 1 Peter 2:20-23    But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps…When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

            The signature of Jesus: the Cross. For me the most difficult and demanding dimension of discipleship on a day-in, day-out basis is the commitment to a life of unending availability. In the early stage of my journey, in the first flush of full love, the imitation of…God the Servant, was a romantic, even intoxicating notion. [Today] being a servant is as unsentimental as duty, as steadily demanding as need. Hurting people are always there, and sometimes the power of their need, like a suction on my spirit, drains me of everything. One of my problems with Jesus is that he always seems to come at the wrong time. Small wonder that Teresa of Avila complained, “Lord, if this is the way you treat your friends, it’s no surprise you have so few.”

            In words to this effect, Jesus told his listeners, “A sign indeed you will have, but it will not be the sign of the Romans being driven into the sea, or of the sun growing dark; it will be a sign of the Servant of Yahweh to be manifested first in my life and then in my death, and after that in the lives of my disciples. Their joyous commitment to the Good News of my Father’s kingdom will issue in lives of service that will permit no doubt about the validity of my message…”

            A beautiful game plan. If indeed we lived a life in imitation of his, our witness would be irresistible. If we dared to live beyond our self-concern; if we refused to shrink from being vulnerable; if we took nothing but a compassionate attitude toward the world; if we were a counterculture to our nation’s lunatic lust for pride of place, power, and possessions; if we preferred to be faithful rather than successful, the walls of indifference to Jesus Christ would crumble. A handful of us could be ignored by society, but hundreds, thousands, millions of such servants would overwhelm the world…The call of Jesus is revolutionary. If we implemented it, we would change the world in a few months.

The Signature of Jesus, by Brennan Manning, pg. 43-45

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Galatians 3:1-3    Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?

            If they were completely honest, many people would have to admit that God is to them an almost entirely negative force in their lives. It is not merely that He provides that “gentle voice we hear…which checks each fault,” but that His whole Nature seems to deny, to cramp and inhibit their own. Though such people would never admit it, they are living endorsements of Swinburne’s bitter lines:

Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean,
The world has grown grey from Thy breath.

            Compared with their non-Christian contemporaries their lives seem to have less life and color, less spontaneity and less confidence. Their god surrounds them with prohibitions but he does not supply them with vitality and courage. They may live under the shadow of his hand but it makes them stunted, pale and weak. Although the thought would appear blasphemous to his devotees, such a god is quite literally a blight upon human life, and no one can be surprised that he fails to attract the loyalty of those with spirit, independence, and a keen enjoyment of the color and richness of life.

The words written above are a plan exposure of a false god, but of course the unhappy worshippers never see their bondage as clearly as that or they would break away. They are bound to their negative god by upbringing, by the traditions of a Church or party, by the manipulation of isolated texts of Scripture or by a morbid conscience. At last they actually feel that it is wrong to be themselves, wrong to be free, wrong to enjoy beauty, wrong to expand and develop. Unless they have their god’s permission they can do nothing.


 Your God Is Too Small, By J. B. Phillips, pgs. 50-51.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Psalm 115:1     Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

           We often question our superiors at work. I do not call them our boss at this point because you probably do not see them as your “superior”. That is the point I want to make. In our society, it is most politically correct to remind everyone that they are all created equal. Well this leads them to see bosses and others in authority without the distinction these roles do have over us.

            God is treated the same way by us at times. Who is he that we must take a second seat to him? Why should God get the praise and recognition when we succeed? Well, He is God! God is not someone who can be controlled by us. He stands above all his creation. We are the creatures he made and we are dependent on him. But God has not left the scene of His creation. God sees and hears us. Communicating with us is no problem for him. We walk each day of our lives with Him able to keep in step with us. He knows our pain and suffering, even our thoughts. Who in all the world is like Him?

            The world of unbelievers do not understand or know Him. Instead of Him, they make for themselves different gods to adore and worship. But their idols will not speak to them, nor offer encouragement or advise. The gods of man know nothing about purity, virtue and goodness. These gods merely take on the moral attributes of their creators. They are without life and cannot hear our words, sense our feelings or know our thoughts. How can they even be called by men?

Prayer:     Our Father, who is in heaven, help us to know you more completely. You are the only God who has created me and has sustained my life. Nothing produced by my hands or thought in my mind can compare to you. May you alone be glorified in my life and actions. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Proverbs 5:22-23     The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.

            The shortest and clearest way to state the relations between sin and folly is to say that not all folly is sin, but all sin is folly. Sin is both wrong and dumb. Indeed, wherever the follies are playing, sin is the main event. Sin is the world’s most impressive example of folly.

            What is it about sin that makes it so foolish? Sin is the wrong recipe for good health; sin is the wrong gasoline to put in the tank; sin is the wrong road to take in order to get home. In other words, sin is finally futile.

            Sin is futile and therefore foolish. Georges Bernanos’s country priest remarks that Satan has involved himself in a hopeless program of swimming against the stream of the universe, of “wearing himself out in absurd, terrifying attempts to reconstruct in the opposite direction the whole work of the Creator.” Thus, while moral evil is destructive, and sometimes infuriating, it is also in some ways ludicrous.

            Sin is folly. No matter what images they choose, the Bible writers say this again and again. Sin is missing the target; sin is choosing the wrong target. Sin is wandering from the path or rebelling against someone too strong for us or neglecting a good inheritance. Above all, at its core, sin is offense against God.

            Why is it not only wrong but also foolish to offend God? God is our final good, our maker and savior, the one in whom alone our restless hearts come to rest. To rebel against God is to saw off the branch that supports us.

Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin. Cornelius Plantinga, pgs. 121-123.

Monday, August 15, 2011


  Mark 9:21-24    Jesus asked the boy's father, How long has he been like this? From childhood, he answered. It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us. If you can? said Jesus. Everything is possible for him who believes. Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!

            What is irrational here is the creation of faith in the faithfulness of God by the crucifixion, the betrayal of Jesus Christ, who was utterly loyal to Him. We note not only that the faith of Jesus Christ in the faithfulness of the Creator runs counter to all our rational calculations based on the assumptions that we are being cheated in life, that its promises are not redeemed, that we must count not only on broken treaties among men but also on having everything taken from us that has been given us and that we hold most dear, that we have only chance to count on, and that our chances are small. This is a greater surd: that the man who reasoned otherwise, who counted on the faithfulness of God in keeping all the promises given to life, and who was loyal to all to whom he trusted God to be loyal, should come to his shameful end, like all the rest of us; and that, in consequence of this, faith in the God of his faith should be called forth in us.

            On the basis of that faith we reason; and much that was unintelligible on the ground of faithlessness or faith in the little gods who are not trustworthy is now illumined… In that faith we seek to make decisions…knowing that the measure of faith is so meager that we are always combining denials with our affirmations of it. Yet in faith in the faithfulness of God we count on being corrected, forgiven, complemented, by the company of the faithful and by many others to whom He is faithful though they reject Him.

            To make our decisions in faith is to make them in view of the fact… that Christ is risen from the dead, and is not only the head of the church but the redeemer of the world. It is to make them in view of the fact that the world of culture – man’s achievement – exists within the world of grace – God’s Kingdom.

Christ and Culture by H. Richard Niebuhr, pg. 254.

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