Sunday, May 20, 2012

Please Pray for Wayne

Our hearts are heavy for our friend and brother Wayne Ho as he continues to undergo cancer treatment. He recently had heavy chemo followed by a stem cell transplant. Now in his "profoundly neutropenic" state (i.e. very susceptible to infection), he has contracted c.diff.

Read the updates on his CaringBridge site and PRAY that God would heal him soon! Pray that the peace of God would guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Pray that they would know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, and know that God is for them and not against them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Comfort Food That Actually...Comforts

You know what comfort food is. You know all about using food like a small-pleasure savior to rescue you from loneliness and fear and anxiety and self-pity and boredom and so on.

What if we learned from this oh-so-natural "move" we make to food when we are in pain or need? What if we realized that this running to food is a parody of the running to Food that we ought to make?!

Jesus said,
'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'
Here is comfort food for your soul that doesn't leave you feeling uncomfortable.

If you are overwhelmed…eat!
Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. ... 4 Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you,
If you are lonely…eat!
Hebrews 13:5 [God himself] has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
If you are afraid…eat!
Isaiah 41:10 'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'
If you are anxious…eat!
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If you’ve been criticized…eat!
Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
If you are bored…eat!
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
What would happen if we replaced (repented of!) the trust in functional-savior-food with trust in the truly-satisfying, bread of life, living water Savior Jesus? In real time. In real life. Really. Like, say, tonight at 9pm when you're not hungry, but you're just looking around for something Like, say, tomorrow after that hard phone call. Or when you get anxious about the finances. Or when you get angry at your spouse. Or when you get to feeling bad about your weight or looks or wardrobe.

At least one thing would happen. Rather than feeling uncomfortable because we've bought the lies of comfort food...again, we would be comforted by the solid, satisfying comfort of God.

To Whom Do Our Marriages Preach?

William P. Farley, Gospel-Powered Parenting, 110-111 (emphasis added):
To whom do our marriages preach? ...
...our children. What is our marriage telling them about Christ and his bride? They see it all. They hear our fights. They absorb our attitudes. They know who or what really sits on the throne of our lives. They watch how we handle resentment. They hear the way we talk to each other. They know when we hear the Sunday sermon and apply it. They also know when we ignore it.
The message that our marriage preaches either repels or attracts our children. God wants your child to watch your marriage and think, "I want a marriage like that, and I want the God that produced it." Or, "When I think of the beauty of the gospel, I think of my parents' marriage. I want to be part of a church that is loved by God the way my dad loves my mother. I want to be part of a church that finds its joy in submitting to Christ as my mother joyfully submits to my father."
What is your sermon saying? 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Keep Calm and Carry On

Interesting little story here. Not a bad phrase to get lodged in your brain, reminding you of what we've recently studied in Luke 12:22-40.

"Do not be anxious about your life." Keep calm.
"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" Keep calm.
"Fear not little flock...." Keep calm.

"Seek his kingdom." Carry on.
"Sell your possessions, and give to the needy." Carry on.
"Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning." Carry on.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Anti-Psalm 133

(If you're tempted to skip this one, at least click the Ray Ortlund link below and read that.)


We considered Psalm 133 last night in prayer meeting.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
You might not know much about oil on the brain or beard, or about Mount Hermon and it's proverbial dew, but the point is pretty clear. Unity is good and pleasant. And it has a trickle down, waterfall, radiating, ripple effect.

The opposite is also true. Disunity has the same effect. You could call it Anti-Psalm 133.
Behold, how bad and bitter it is when Christians live in complaining, conflicted, contentious disunity. 
It is like a leak in the roof that leads to water stains and mold and carpenter ants and headaches.
It is like the crayon in the laundry that leaves its mark on nearly the whole load of clothes. 
How does Anti-Psalm 133 work out in a church? Ray Ortlund nails it.

How does Psalm 133 work out in a church? The Apostle Paul nails it.

Let's be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace! If we aren't, Bethel could be blown up in no time. "It only take three weeks."

On Very Good Terms With Ourselves

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (found in Proverbs: Wisdom That Works by Ray Ortlund, Jr., 22, emphasis added):
You will never make yourself feel that you are a sinner, because there is a mechanism in you as a result of sin that will always be defending you against every accusation. We are all on very good terms with ourselves, and we can always put up a good case for ourselves. Even if we try to make ourselves feel that we are sinners, we will never do it. There is only one way to know that we are sinners, and that is to have some dim, glimmering conception of God.
Isaiah received more than a dim, glimmering conception of God:
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
There was no possibility of defending himself. Opening his mouth, he could only condemn himself.
... And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"
Being blinded by the white-hot radiance of God's glory opens our eyes. Rather than being on good terms with ourselves and putting up a good case, all of the sudden the call to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus makes complete sense. It is freedom and life to kill the compulsion to defend ourselves. No need to assume the role of personal defense attorney when...
...we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
God's glory, shining supremely Christ in the face of Jesus Christ, puts us in touch with reality. We feel it. We know it. We know how sinful and excuse-less we are. Our mouths are stopped. Then we also feel and know the burning sweetness of atonement that touches our lips. And our mouths are filled with something new. Not our case. No self defense. But the excellencies of our Advocate who, by blood-bought grace, is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness.

How sweet is it that God, by grace, in Christ, can put slippery, spin-doctor lawyers like us on very good terms with himself!

Should I Play the Lottery Today?

Should I play the lottery today?

Wisdom says,
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. 
But she is not the only one talking.
The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!"
Lady Luck is a liar.

Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town, "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" To him who lacks sense she says, "Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight."