Monday, July 30, 2012

Where Mercy Is Found

Proverbs 28:13 (ESV, emphasis added)
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but
he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
This is the hard, humbling...and happy...path. Let's walk it, together, by grace, through faith, in Jesus.

1 John 1:6-10 (ESV, emphasis added)
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
James 5:16 (ESV, emphasis added)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. ...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Real Re:freshment Doesn't Come From Getting Stuff Done

A needed word from Jon Bloom over at (God bless 'em!) Desiring God ministries:
Cursed are the anxieties that choke the word and blind us to glory and true joy. Even the anxieties over things legitimate in themselves (Luke 10:40-42).
They frequently surround us and constantly demand our attention. The meal needs to be made, the car needs cleaning, the garage is out of control. Let’s not talk about the laundry room. Are you ever going to read that parenting book? You’re not saving enough for retirement! When are you going to complete that course? Have you updated your will yet? Has the child finished his chores? Oh for goodness’ sake, look at the bathroom!
Legitimate things all of them, and a thousand others like them. None of them is wrong to do in themselves. In fact, most of them need to be done at some point. And yet any one of them, or the compounding pressure of all of them, can produce acts of faithlessness because they make us anxious and troubled and they siphon off our fleeting time, our fleeting life, in these evil days (Ephesians 5:16).
Beware, “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word” (Matthew 13:22). Cares choke the word. And when we’re choking, we can’t see the glory the word reveals. We might know about glorious things, but if knowing doesn’t produce seeing, it does us little good.
So what do you do when you feel like you’re choking? You do what Mary did in Luke 10:39. You carve out time to set the demanding tasks aside and sit at Jesus’ feet and listen and look.
But you’re not going to feel like it. You’ll feel like getting the stuff done. Getting stuff done will promise you relief, but don’t believe it. It won’t deliver much. More stuff is lining up behind the stuff currently shouting at you. Stuff will steal your life if you let it.
Real relief is in seeing real glory. Because in seeing the “good portion” (Luke 10:42) of the glory of Jesus, in really hearing his refreshing word, your priorities shift. You see your life in eternal perspective. The voices of demanding stuff diminish in volume and compulsion.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Proverbs 3:5-6 En Route to the Outlet Mall

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
I found myself praying on the way to the mall recently. Have you ever? If not, let me explain. A little back story and then the why.

I usually have one pair of running shoes I wear until they are pretty well worn out. My old pair was worn out by the middle of last year, but I figured I could wait until Christmas and use the money I usually receive from family members to purchase my new kicks. That's what I did.

I found a pair that seemed to fit the bill. I took them home, started wearing them, and did a little running in them. Then my left foot started, mildly, to cramp up. I thought I just needed to break in the shoes. I thought it would go away soon enough. It actually got worse. More than once I found myself laying in bed trying to stretch out my foot and calf because the cramping lasted long after I had taken off the shoes.

What to do? I couldn't wear the shoes. I didn't want to just pitch them. They were in very good shape, but were well beyond any kind of return policy time frame. I did not want to have pay for another pair just yet. For those who understand such things, I'm an over-pronator. Here's all that means to me: the running shoes I need to buy are always more expensive than I want them to be.

I called the number of the manufacturer, hoping I could send them back. They said I would have to return them to a store like the one where I bought them (it was an outlet store). Ugh. The closest one was an hour away from Wilmington. Not going to happen. So, I figured I'd bring them with me on vacation and hope to get out to an outlet mall. Add to this, uncharacteristically, I couldn't find my receipt, and even the box they came in was long gone. After re-purposing it to house Sam's diorama for school, it was roundly discarded.

So there I was, on my way to the outlet mall, really not wanting to have to pay for a new pair of running shoes. Thinking I was on a fool's errand. Thinking the chances of things working out in my favor were somewhere between slim and none. I knew my "story" was going to sound a little weak, and I had no hard evidence to strengthen it in the form of a shoe box UPC code or a receipt with a date and price paid. I started thinking through my reasoning, my "story." How was I going to explain things?

I knew I was starting to lean on my own understanding. I knew I might be tempted to try to manipulate things verbally when it came down to it. I also knew that I might get a little irritated if things went badly, and I might not display a transparently Christlike attitude. So, I prayed.

I prayed that I would be honest. I prayed that I would trust the Lord even if I ended up having to eat the cost of the shoes and buy a new pair. I prayed that my attitude would glorify the Lord.

I also prayed that God would grant me favor with the associate to whom I spoke, and that he would lead me to the right one. I did so not because I wanted to "work the system." I think my reasons were reasonable and my request was fair. I did so because I know the Lord cares about and can work in the details. I'm thankful for that.

Here's the real bottom line: It's better to be out the full cost of new shoes and have trusted and glorified the Lord in the process than to not trust him, lean on my own understanding, dishonor the Lord and get a free pair of new shoes. Proverbs 3:5-6 is needed everywhere. Even en route to the outlet mall.

A mall is a dangerous place (I try to avoid them if at all possible!). There are a lot of temptations there, at a lot of different levels. Nevertheless, it's a place of opportunity to "trust in the Lord with all your heart" and "in all your ways acknowledge him," and "whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." How you choose to spend and not spend, where you derive your sense of identity, what drives and governs your decisions, your attitudes, your level of contentment, etc. are all Proverbs 3:5-6 issues.

The outcome of my little outing is not the reason for this post. If you're curious, they graciously (in light of me not having my receipt) gave me present "fair market value" store credit, which was more than half the cost of a new pair. I'm very thankful.

The point of the post is an encouragement to trust in the Lord with all your all your ways (even when your ways lead to the mall!).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

May God Own Our Awe

Who owns your awe? In which direction does it usually flow? Vertically? Or horizontally?

I am very thankful for the writing ministry of Ray Ortlund, Jr. I’ve blogged quite a bit recently about his Proverbs commentary (published by Crossway). He wrote another excellent commentary in the same series on the book of Isaiah. The following quote from that book, when I first read it, led me to repent of my idolatry of (misdirected) awe and praise my creative Creator. He was commenting on Isaiah 40:12-18.
When God created everything, he needed nothing. All the ideas, all the genius, were his alone. God imagined every tropical fish. He established every function of gravity. He shaped galaxies as irregular, spiral, and elliptical. He came up with it all, by himself alone, out of his own super-intelligence. In Babylonian religion the creator god Marduk had to consult with “Ea, the all wise.” The pagan gods worked by committee. God the Creator needs no one else, including you and me.
Isaiah: God Saves Sinners (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005), 244.

“All the ideas…were his alone.” We humans are often in awe of those who invent and create. And yet we yawn with blindness and deafness to God’s cosmic show-and-tell (Ps. 19:1-6). New technology, “cutting edge” artistic expression, or a unique or surprisingly helpful invention elicits our can’t-wait-to-tell-someone excitement. Our awe can be pretty deep and our praise pretty high for these human creators (if you're not tracking yet, think Apple products). 

Our inflated opinions aside, so-called new genres are always influenced by “old” genres (even the ones reacting against “old” genres), and new inventions are always dependent on old materials and old inventions. There’s nothing new under the sun.

As for the creators themselves, their artistic and technological uniqueness is typically limited to a pretty narrow bandwidth. I doubt Sufjan Stevens will ever pitch winning new programming to Apple. Flannery O’Connor, to my knowledge, never applied for a patent. I doubt any top chefs in the world of cutting edge culinary creativity sit at Boeing’s brainstorming tables. Those most creatively prodigious and productive in our world invariably do so within a relatively small niche. 

Not God. His bandwidth of expertise and creative genius knows no bounds. He is not only supreme in every niche, he created every niche!

He is also not dependent on any prior technology. When he got started, there was nothing new, not even the sun. He is the only one who had no gurus. No teachers. No mentors or no consultants. None to whom he looked up. He had no models that influenced or shaped his artistic vision. He was not even self-taught, because there was no need to grow and develop. He was and is and always will be perfectly and gloriously creative. 
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult, and who made him understand?
Who taught him the [right way to do things], and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?
How often are we wowed by the wonder and weight of the God of Isaiah 40:12-14? How often are we more impressed by Hollywood’s special effects and virtual reality? How often are we more interested in Silicon Valley’s slick wares, both hard and soft? Has familiarity with Reality bred indifference?

Elephants and strawberries, Redwoods and blowfish, glaciers and geysers, sand and oxygen, skin and honeycombs, carrots and meteors, quicksand and saltwater, stalagmites and catfish, earthworms and tree sap, leaves and chameleons, gravity and helium, T-Rexes and tree frogs, ovaries and osmosis, snow and starfish, pineapples and fire ants, pythons and mitochondria, hurricanes and hair, eye balls and volcanoes, chlorophyll and the Northern Lights, canyons and oases, moose and mice, pinecones and Pluto, camels and coral, were not products of a brainstorming session with the angels. God alone is mind-blowingly creative in every conceivable category. 

While we can and most certainly should glorify and (oh so dimly) reflect our Creator’s creativity with industrious humility and joyful curiosity, let's admit it, we ultimately are not creative. Even at our best, we are re-arrangers…shufflers…followers…wanna be’s…posers. We need to get over ourselves and stop getting over God (how many times have you been impressed by a photo or painting of some created thing and blindly walked by the real thing!). Familiarity has bred indifference. 

Or maybe…we’re not familiar enough. When was the last time you really tasted and savored a banana or a carrot? Seriously. Go try it. Slow down and really try it. When was the last time the magical reality, the “isness” of water blew your mind? This summer, at some point when you find yourself in a body of water, just stop and think about the fact that you are FLOATING in this crazy LIQUID! God made water! Water!

Why is it that we worship and serve the creation’s “creators” and the creators creations?

Are we even aware of this unrighteous idolatry of awe? We give fawning and emotionally-charged praise to the creativity of created creators. And all we often have left is patronizingly token praise and deadly dutiful lip-service for the Creator of creators. 

Don’t you want to wake up from this? Don’t you want to flee the blinding effect of the Times Square over-stimulation of this world? Don’t you want to get out beyond the lights, so to speak, and see the glory of the stars?

This summer, slow down and ponder the universe and the body in which you live. All of it was created for a reason. Not so you could worship and serve created things, but so you would worship and serve the Creator, who is blessed forever (Rom. 1:25).

Pray for the revival of your senses and your heart, and then go walk through this wild, magical world with your mind and heart awake. Get blown away by the wondrous God who works wonders. Let’s repent of our idolatry of awe and get our wow back where it belongs.

Postscript: The picture was not staged. It was spontaneous (and Beth caught it). You can see why.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We Must Help The Poor

Bill Hughes sent me this link the other day to an excellent post written by Kevin DeYoung. In it he states,
The Bible is full of explicit commands and implicit commendations to help the poor.
... Clearly, God cares about the poor and wants us to care about them too.
But how?
I've wrestled with this question personally not a few times, and I wrestle with it as a pastor. I imagine many of you have wrestled with it, too. How should we personally live out these commands, and how should we live out these commands as a church? We ought to be wrestling with these questions. We dare not be indifferent or unconcerned.

As he admits, DeYoung doesn't answer all the "What about...?" and "What if...?" questions that inevitably rise. What he does do is provide two clear and helpful principles to take with us as we walk through life in this needy world.
Principle 1: We are most responsible to help those closest to us.
Principle 2: We are most responsible to help those least able to help themselves.
I hope you'll read how he unpacks these two principles and be helped, as you seek to help the poor.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Please Pray For Me This Week

Vacation is over. We had a great time in Michigan. We are so grateful.

Beth and the kids left for Wisconsin this morning, to spend the week with her parents and two of her brothers and their families.

After they left, I was thankful for the opportunity to visit a good church this morning that I have never attended. It's not often I get the chance to attend another church, and it was doubly helpful and interesting to attend as a first time visitor. Gives you new eyes. Maybe I'll write more about that at another time.

I began the transition into work mode today. This week, as I mentioned before we left, I will be focusing on some study and writing. When I first suggested awhile ago that I do this, the elders wholeheartedly supported the idea. In addition, they suggested and arranged pulpit fill for this coming Sunday so that I could give the week completely over to this work. I'm grateful for their support and for the Chelten pastors who have always been so willing to serve us in this way!

I'm writing simply to ask you to pray for me this week.

I have more on my to-do list than I can possibly get done. But I want to be really productive. Productive in a way that best serves our church. I plan to work at least 12 hours a day, Monday through Friday, but 60-75 hours goes pretty fast. I know I am completely dependent on the Lord for the real fruit of my labor (including the "taste" of the fruit).

I will be working on the following projects:

First, rewriting the short form of our doctrinal statement. We now have a one-page version of our doctrinal statement that is on our website, and is used in membership class. It needs to be rewritten, in similar summary form for the website and for membership.

Second, prior to my coming to Bethel, the elders began the process of writing a new doctrinal statement in a longer, more detailed format. They chose to wait on finalizing that process until after the new senior pastor was in place so that he would have a part in that process. So, here we are. If you remember back to our annual meeting last Fall, this was one of the goals for this year. I'll be working this week to help us realize this goal as soon as possible. The number of pages this document will be is yet to be determined, but it will be longer (maybe 12-15 pages?) and will spell out in more detail what we believe at Bethel. This will be helpful for all of us, but especially for those who are in teaching and leadership positions.

Once I return, we will need some time to work through these documents as elders, and then we will certainly communicate clearly and take time to work through the changes and additions with the church family before we collectively affirm (Lord willing!) the new documents.

Third, a "ministry plan" document is needed for the capital campaign. We have been discussing and praying through this "planning" stage. We all desire to get moving with some of the improvements that we need, but we want to be careful to plan well before the ball gets rolling. One important step in that process, according to the counsel we've received, is a ministry plan document that helps guide all involved to match form to function.

There are a few others items on the list, but please pray for these main three.

Most of all I need to trust in the Lord with all my heart this week and do all that I do by his grace, for his glory and the good of our church. I know God will hear and answer that prayer!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Resurrection of Chivalry and Christlike Manhood

What is mature, Christlike manhood? This is an important question for the church. It is important for each man who calls himself a Christian. It is important for every father of boys, every father of girls. It is important for church leaders. It is important for those who want to support and pray for their leaders. It's important for those who are concerned about the next generation of church leaders, and how to raise them up.

Ever since the Fall, the saddle that is manhood has been greased by our sinful nature. Men consequently slide off naturally into the ditch of passive abdication on the one hand, or the ditch of aggressive domination on the other. Or they slip and slide like a passive-aggressive pendulum. But Christlike manhood is not passive or aggressive. Christlike manhood is courageous and meek. It learns to ride on the saddle by grace. It is proactive, not passive. It is humble, not full of hubris. It has backbone of spiritual steel, and heart of Spirit-wrought sensitivity.

We must keep our eyes on Jesus, the perfect Man, who was perfectly tough and perfectly tender. He was the man who wound a whip of cords and upended tables. He was the man who tenderly tended to and blessed the children. He was the man who looked the religious establishment in the eye and called them hypocrites and snakes. He was the man who lovingly lifted the shame-heavy heads of repentant prostitutes and told them to go - forgiven and clean - in peace. He is the white-hot holy King of Kings whose eyes are a flame of fire (Rev. 1:15), who will break the rebel nations with a rod of iron (Psa. 2:9). And a bruised reed he did not break, and a smoldering wick he did not quench (Isa. 42:3; Mt. 12:20).

Last summer, on vacation, I read C.S. Lewis' brief journalistic essay, "The Necessity of Chivalry." [Here I am this summer, on vacation, posting this!] In it, Lewis looks to the Middle Ages and Sir Thomas Malory to find a succinct description of chivalry. He quotes Sir Ector's words to the dead Launcelot.
"Thou wert the meekest man that ever ate in hall among ladies; and thou wert the sternest knight to thy mortal foe that ever put spear in the rest."
Then he goes on to say,
The important thing about this ideal is, of course, the double demand it makes on human nature. The knight is a man of blood and iron, a man familiar with the sight of smashed faces and the ragged stumps of lopped-off limbs; he is also a demure, almost a maidenlike, guest in hall, a gentle, modest, unobtrusive man. He is not a compromise or happy mean between ferocity and meekness; he is fierce to the nth and meek to the nth.
The medieval ideal brought together two things which have no natural tendency to gravitate towards one another. It brought them together for that very reason. It taught humility and forbearance to the great warrior because everyone knew by experience how much he usually needed that lesson. It demanded valour of the urbane and modest man because everyone knew that he was as likely as not to be a milksop.
If we cannot produce Launcelots, humanity falls into two sections - those who can deal in blood and iron but cannot be "meek in hall", and those who are "meek in hall" but useless in battle.... When this dissociation of the two halves of Launcelot occurs, history becomes a horribly simple affair. The ancient history of the Near East is like that. Hardy barbarians swarm own from their highlands and obliterate a civilization. Then they become civilized themselves and go soft. Then a new wave of barbarians comes down and obliterates them. Then the cycle begins over again. ...nothing much else can happen if the "stern" and the "meek" fall into two mutually exclusive classes. And never forget that this is their natural condition. The man who combines both characters--the knight--is a work not of nature but of art; of that art which has human beings, instead of canvas or marble, for its medium. ...the maintenance of that life depends, in part, on knowing that the knightly character is art not nature - something that needs to be achieved, not something that can be relied upon to happen.
Chivalry need not be dead. I, for one, labor to revive it. Society at large is in such dire need of a swelling wave of such men. But greater than the revival of chivalry in society is the revival of Christlike manhood in the church. It is rare these days. I lament the fact. We most certainly cannot sit idly by and expect it to just "happen."

But there is hope! Not in a recovery of "medieval ideals." Not by learning the "art" of knight-making. But in a generation of fathers (and mothers) who fix their eyes on Jesus. Fathers (and mothers) who, by the power of the gospel, learn and live Christlike tenderness and Christlike toughness. Fathers (and mothers) who image-forth that Christlikeness for their sons (and daughters) to see. Fathers (and mothers) who authentically and intentionally point their sons (and daughters) to the true manhood that is found in Christ. Fathers (and mothers) who wisely and intentionally point out perversions and caricatures of manhood (and womanhood) portrayed all around us in the culture. Fathers (and mothers) who learn to stay, by grace, on the greasy saddle -- not falling off into the ditch of passivity and abdication or the ditch of aggression and domination.

This kind of revival seems like a tall order. And it is. But we have the Triune God on our side.

God the Father is able and eager to form the character of his Son in his sons.
God the Son, our example, leading the way, for us. His blood-bought grace is the power to pursue him.
God the Holy Spirit loves to open our eyes to see Jesus in all of his tough and tender glory, that we will become like what we admire (2 Cor. 3:18).

Chivalry need not be dead. Let's be part of resurrecting it. And, infinitely more important, Christlike manhood need not be rare in our church, in The Church. Jesus died and rose again to give it birth. Let's be part of raising generational wave upon generational wave that will flood marriages and families and churches and society with the tough and tender blessing of Jesus.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Manger and Motherhood

I've been studying Proverbs for the last couple of months. I came to Proverbs 14:4 one morning back at the end of April and saw some strong encouragement for my sweet wife and the mother of our brood.

Mothers have one of the toughest jobs on the planet and they need all the encouragement we can give them. So when I came to Proverbs 14:4 again yesterday morning, I was reminded of the encouragement I passed on to Beth from this verse. There might be a few other mothers (and other-than-mothers) who could stand a little encouragement in the midst of their messy, loving lives.

In a sentence, Proverbs 14:4 is saying that the meals are worth the mess. Or, the crops are worth the crap. Here's how I put it to Beth.


Dear mother,

Proverb 14:4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, …

Wouldn't that be nice? A clean manger (read kitchen, house, laundry room, car, etc.)!

Imagine that! Everything in order. Everything where it belongs. No "ugh" when you walk back in the door after your errands. Only "ahh" as you return to your spotless domain.

Imagine it! No stains on the carpet or furniture. No spills or crumbs in the car. No spit up on your blouse. No toys on the floor. No art project explosions. No finger prints on the wall. No clothes on the floor. No sink full of dishes you didn't dirty. No school bags or lunch bags or coats or hats to contend with. No Lego bomb shrapnel to scoop up. No toothpaste in the sink. No “presents” left in the toilets.

A clean manger! What a blessing! Animals drool and stink and shed. Mangers are not the most hygienic environments in the world, you know.

…but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

But...a clean manger means not having more than just the mess. It also means not having the animals. And without the animals, you miss out on the crops.

Imagine that! No little smiles and cuddles and giggles and hugs and kisses. No little homemade cards. No constant flood of opportunities to sow seeds of gospel grace and truth and love and service and "I'm sorry" and forgiveness and mercy and tenderness and toughness and discipline and discipleship. All of which grow slowly. All of which have their seasons of drought and storm. But the word will not return void and your labor is not in vain. You have and you will taste the fruit of your labors. You are feeding those oxen. The manger is a mess, but the crops can and will be abundant. All the fruit of His love, your love. Messy? Yes. Worth it? I'll let you answer that.

A clean manger? Wouldn't that be terrible? A clean manger is an empty manger. And an empty manger is not a good sign. This is a farm after all.

With love,
The farmer

Postscript: Motherhood is only one applicational direction for this proverb. You might not be a mother, but there is still a word for you here. If you live a small, selfish life, you might have all your ducks in a row, but duck arranging doesn’t produce much. The fruit of love is only birthed through the dirty work of relational plowing and seeding and watering and weeding and harvesting. These activities will take time away from dusting your ducks, and you’ll have to have more supplies and tools lying around, but harvest time will be rich!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Where Death Lurks

Ray Ortlund, Jr.:
...death casts a shadow over on this side, on us today. Death is encroaching on life right now in the forms of sickness, aging, suffering, fear, guilt, anxiety, confusion, boredom, and above all, sin. Any weakening of our vitality is death even now. Real life is more than a beating heart; real life is the vitality only God can give. And he does give it, gladly and freely, through the finished work of Christ on the cross. We receive it as we press the gospel into our hearts by faith. ...
We sinners stray into the territory of death every day. But in the book of Proverbs God is counseling us, alerting us to where death lurks. When the sage warns his son against sexual sin, for example, he says, "The dead are there" (Proverbs 9:18). There is a hell before Hell. But there is also a heaven before Heaven. Jesus said, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10). ...
This is what God wants for every one of us today: to die less and live more through Christ.
Proverbs: Wisdom that Works (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012) 181-182, emphasis added.

Mark 8:34-35:
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Ray Ortlund, Jr.:
Anger is a judging emotion. Anger is our hearts feeling that something is wrong. And a lot is wrong. But wisdom brings this judging emotion itself under judgment. Fools unleash it without filtering it. In so doing, they exalt, they lift up for everyone to see, their own folly (Proverbs 14:29). But the wise rule their emotions with a nobility that outclasses world conquerors: "He who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city" (Proverbs 16:32). Conquering a city is child's play compared with ruling the turbulent, demanding, upset world inside us. The one is only the battle of a day. The other is the conflict of a lifetime.
Proverbs: Wisdom That Works, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012) 161, emphasis added.

The whole quote is good and helpful, but for practical help in the day-to-day battle against sinful anger, I think the first 4 sentences are really worth pondering.
Anger is a judging emotion.
What am I judging here? Do I have the right to make this judgment? Etc.
Anger is our hearts feeling that something is wrong.
What is wrong? Why is it wrong? Is there anything wrong in me? Etc.
A lot is wrong.
I need to sift out righteous from unrighteous anger. There is most certainly such a thing as righteous anger (Psalm 4:4; Mark 3:5; Ephesians 4:26), but most of our anger is of the unrighteous sort. We have good reason to be suspicious of ourselves.
Wisdom brings this judging emotion itself under judgment.
If anger is a judging emotion; if anger is my heart feeling that something is wrong; if a lot is me, then what if I got angry at (and judged as wrong) my own unrighteous anger?!

It just might lead to repentance, and from repentance to the grace God promises to the humble, and from that promised grace to the peaceful calm from which I can bless and not curse.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Indelible Grace (free album alert)

If you are not familiar with Indelible Grace (and even if you are)...
If you love lyrical meat and not milk toast...
If you want the gospel to be the soundtrack of your life...
If you want be able to sing (and thus more easily remember and be reminded of) good theology...
If you like free music (esp good free music)...

Then you should go here (quickly, the "free download" is about to expire) and download this album by Indelible Grace, and all your "if's" will be blessed by this "then."