Category Archives: spiritual questions/musings/wonderings

Sit and Soak, don’t just splash a little. #soakInScripture

“He shall also make restitution for what he has done amiss in the holy thing and shall add a fifth to it and give it to the priest. And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and he shall be forgiven.”‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah”‭‭ Psalm‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Selections from M’Cheyne reading plan in YouVersion

See below

http://bible.com/59/col.3.1-2.esv

#soakInScripture

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Easter and the Bible

Today is Good Friday. It’s a big day for Christians using the Western calendar (Orthodox Easter is next week) and as it happens it’s also Passover (not always, just sometimes) and the Stock Market is closed (the New York Times commented that the only reason seemed to be a tradition that dates back to the mid-19th century). Much has and is being said in the blog and Twittersphere about the events surrounding the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. People are rightly called to make a decision about Jesus. His followers will attend services today through Sunday morning in right celebration of the Jesus’ work that made salvation possible for those who believe. May Jesus be exalted today and every day!

But I want to in a different direction for a moment. How do we know about this greatest of all news? Is it through church, a preacher, or the person who showed this news to us? Is it through the radio, movie or the myriad television programs that will air this weekend? Wanna bet you can find “The 10 Commandments” on TV this weekend? On Easter and Christmas the TV networks suddenly become quite open to religious programming. No, none of these sources are where the real source of the Great News of Jesus is kept clear and available. The real source is the Bible. 

Recently I’ve been reading a lot about the world’s religions for the program I’m in. Two things stand out: first, that there is such a myriad of choices out there for people to believe in and follow and second, the more I read about the other religions and their texts the more thankful I am for the Bible. I am thankful that God inspired the very words of Scripture and then, for two millennia has preserved that word which has stood the test of time and the rigors of textual criticism. I am thankful for it because by reading and understanding His word, I don’t have to rely on the changing whims and methods of men. How great it is to sit each morning and soak in the word of God and read words like “it is finished” and “he has risen” which could be 6 of the most important words ever uttered and then written, 3 on Good Friday, 3 on Easter. 

Read more of these amazing words here.

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Be encouraged, be challenged

I learned that when I preach a message, I need to present the context of the text, explain the text itself, and apply it to life. 

Sweet Anna and I visited a friend’s church today, a Korean speaking church. I caught bits and pieces of the sermon (my Korean is very limited) but because I can read a little and know many of the books of the Bible, I figured out the outline of the message (there is a point to these details). Sweet Anna told me it was about ring encouraged. So as I followed the texts on the slides I saw the sermon shaping up as I read their contexts: like figures in Scripture, we get frustrated and discouraged in life, but there is hope.

Moses was frustrated by the whining of the people and expressed his own struggles to God.

If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.” (‭Numbers‬ ‭11‬:‭15‬ ESV)

Elijah on the run from Jezebel.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”  (1Ki.19.4 ESV)

Jonah (you should need no intro).

Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4.3 ESV)

Let’s press on. They got discouraged, but God used them:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Gal. 6.9)

The Prodigal came to his senses and ran home to his waiting father. God is waiting for us:

And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 ESV)

Look to Jesus who endured, Jesus is our strength to endure and press on:

…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Heb. 12.2-3)

Press on!

Here’s the beauty of this sermon: it was so based on Scripture and the power of God’s word, it was not dependent on the preacher (or my ability to totally understand the preacher’s words). 

The Word of God preached its own message.

Preachers, let’s be reminded: God doesn’t need your passion, pastoral abilities or plans, just preach the Word of God as the Word of God. 

Preach the Bible not your agenda. The Bible preaches itself as long as we keep ourselves out of its way.

Press on in Jesus’ power, sharing His word! Be encouraged!

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thinkers on “the state”

Perica (p. 211) introduces his conclusion with quotes from Hegel, Nietzsche, Machiavelli, and Orwell on the state. 



Those to look to the state or think their state “good” or “Christian” would do well to reflect on these words.

Don’t freak out, I’m not endorsing these four, but I do endorse thought.

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New Devotional on Prayer

A new 14 day devotional from Tim Keller including excerpts from his book on prayer is out. It’s on YouVersion

Check it out here.

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Loving the Bible

This was reportedly said by Charles Spurgeon: “By this the elect of God are known—that they love the Word of God”

I have been a student of the Bible for 35 years now. I try to read it every day and to one degree or another I am successful. It is my source of certainty about the knowledge of God. Yes, I said certainty.

When I was in seminary a while back I was struck to discover that textual criticism had failed as a tool to disprove the Bible, but rather, thanks to the work of textual critics, I can have more trust in the Bible.

Recently I’ve been studying about Islam for a program I’m in. I’m not studying Islam, I’m studying about Islam. As I have read about its early history, I have been struck by the apparent weakness of its core document. It is a document that, according to what I am learning, can not stand the test of textual criticism as the Bible has.

If you are a disciple of Jesus, you are a learner (that’s what the word means), you should cultivate a love of the Bible, what Spurgeon called the Word of God.

Tragically, studies show many Christians, and, sadly even their pastors, do not share this love of the Word of God. Too bad more Christians aren’t disciples.

Don’t study about God, study God. Be a learner. Be disciplined. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you cultivate a love of the Word He breathed into existence.

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Looking back to Sarajevo

On this trip I was on my own a lot and was able to explore beautiful Sarajevo on my own terms.

Here are a series of pix I took in a neighborhood up the hill from Old Town. They are of a kind of neighborhood mosque with many graves from 1992-1995 and the main mosque in the Old Town.

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My assumption is that these died in the siege during the war when Serbs bombarded the city from the surrounding mountain tops.

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Down the hill, I went to the main mosque, it’s minaret was visible down this alley…

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And upon entering you are given the rules…

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On Fridays this mosque is filled with Muslims…

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Walking by the side I noted the extra prayer rugs stacked in the window…

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Martin Luther said that Muslims (among many others including Jews and many “Christians”) worship the same God, but they worship him incorrectly. As I study Islam (for my Cross Cultural Studies program) and read from many sides of this discussion, it seems Luther makes a sound argument. The enemy of God wishes to keep people away from him and the best way is a way that looks right while being wrong. A one degree error send KAL 007 into Soviet airspace and hundreds died when the Soviets shot it down. Worshipping the right God the wrong way, through works, may look good, but is not His way.

We depend on grace alone, trusting in the final and complete work of Jesus: death, burial and resurrection. In Christ alone.

Allow not a desire for pluralism to water down the way and the truth.

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