Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Secret Service mess

In today's world, to say something might be "immoral" will get you in trouble. It may well be seen as a violation of church and state, a separation not in the Constitution but in a letter Jefferson wrote (kind of like adding a book to the canon of Scripture). So it comes as no surprise that no one is saying that our Secret Service acted immorally by hiring prostitutes. The only concern was possible compromise in security matters. In other words, fornication is perfectly legit (and in Columbia legal), but don't violate security protocal. I agree (as one who had a security clearance) that this is important, but I am discouraged by our country's reluctance to talk about the "right & wrong" morality of sex outside of marriage. We are headed toward becoming an amoral nation, or as Judge Bork put it, "slouching toward Gomorrah."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A big fat lie of Satan

by Stephen Altrogge

One of the most devious, destructive lies that Satan wants us to believe is that we are the products of forces outside ourselves. He wants you to believe that because your dad was an angry, vicious man, you too will always be an angry, vicious man. He wants you to believe that because you were mocked in school you will always care too much about what other people think about you. He wants you to believe that because of your biological wiring you will always be a slave to sexual sin.

He wants you to believe that you will never change.

That you are stuck.

That there is no hope for you to overcome.

You are the victim of your family and your history and your biology. That’s just the way it is, some thing will never change (see Bruce Hornsby).

Today God wants you and me to quit believing that demon spawn lie. We are not the sum total of forces outside of ourselves. The Bible makes it clear that we are the products of the Holy Spirit at work within us. In Galatians 5:16 Paul says:

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."

My family history, life experience, and biology will certainly give shape to my temptations. For many years I have dealt with periods of intense physical anxiety, which can then lead to me being tempted by the sin of worry. But the Holy Spirit is at work within me, which means that my life is not defined by my physical anxiety. I may experience the symptoms anxiety for the rest of my life but I will not always struggle with the sin of worry like I do now. I am not the product of my biology I am the product of the Holy Spirit. He is working within me and WILL change me.

In 1 Corinthians 5:17 Paul says: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

You are a new creation in Jesus Christ. That is your fundamental identity. Your dad may have been an angry man but that doesn’t mean that you will also be ruled by anger. You are in Christ. You are a new creation and the Holy Spirit is within you, conforming you to the image of Christ. You can be absolutely sure that you will change.

So quit dishonoring God by believing that you won’t change. Quit dishonoring the Holy Spirit by believing that He isn’t strong enough to overcome your biology. God is for you and in you! He delights in you and is committed to changing you! You a new creation in Christ. You’re not stuck and you’re not doomed.

Sin may be powerful but the Spirit is more powerful.

How to ruin your life

Table of contents for Steve Farrar's book, How to Ruin Your Life by Age 30...

•Ignore the law of cause & effect (choices have consequences)
•Refuse to take responsibility for your actions (victim-mentality)
•Neglect your gifts & strengths
•Disregard what the Bible says about sex & marriage
•Stop learning
•Isolate yourself
•Reject wisdom

Pretty sound advice, and the rest is likely worth reading; he also has one for age 40.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Anatomy of Holiness- Kevin DeYoung

What exactly does it mean to be holy? What does it look like?

Here’s one to think about it: consider growth in godliness as the sanctification of your body...

•The mind is filled with the knowledge of God and fixed on what is good.
•The eyes turn away from sensuality and shudder at the sight of evil.
•The mouth tells the truth and refuses to gossip, slander, or speak what is coarse or obscene.
•The spirit is earnest, steadfast, and gentle.
•The soul rests and rejoices in Jesus.
•The muscles toil and strive after Christlike virtue.
•The heart is full of joy instead of hopelessness, patience instead of irritability, kindness instead of anger, and humility instead of pride, thankfulness instead of envy.
•The sexual organs are pure, being reserved for the privacy of marriage between one man and one woman.
•The feet move toward the lowly and away from senseless conflict, divisions, and wild parties.
•The hands are quick to help those in need and ready to fold in prayer.

When I lose track of what holiness is actually about, I try to scan down the body from head to toe and remember what God desires from me. And just as importantly, I need to remember who Christ is and is making me to become.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cries from the Cross

Because Jesus was filled with horror and cried out, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” we are filled with wonder and cry, “My God, my God, why have you accepted me?”

Because Jesus cried, “Father, forgive!” the taunts we hurled at Him at the cross are transformed into praise for His generous mercy.

Because Jesus said, “I thirst,” we can drink from the fountain of living water and never thirst again.

Because Jesus said, “Woman, behold your son” and felt the pain of separation from His earthly family, we can experience the blessing of being united with a heavenly family.

Because Jesus forgave the repentant thief, we can forgive others.

Because Jesus cried, “It is finished!” our new life can begin.

Because Jesus committed His spirit into the Father’s hands, God commits His Spirit into our hearts.