September 28, 2007

What would our churches be like if instead of coming to church on Sunday and just small-talking and telling each other how nice we look and how nice we are, if we would get honest with each other—accountable, vulnerable, transparent, and willing to speak the truth about what's in your life anytime God prompts you to share it with another person? Otherwise, we're just playing church. We're not being the church.
-N. L. DeMoss

September 27, 2007

Seeking one thing: today
One evening my brother and I got on our bikes and headed onto the avenue just north of our house. We were headed east, but for a moment my brother looked west. The sun was so direct and so bright, coming down the tunnel of the tree-lined avenue, that he could hardly look in that direction. For a moment I was reminded of Jesus. How good he is to build reminders of Himself into the universe. I'm told there will be no sun in Heaven.
"The Son is all the glory in Immanuel's land". How bright will he be? Will we be able to look on Him? How? Oh my sin, as that light rushes, pours in my direction. Oh my sin. When others ask how I am, I can say that I am "good" in a positional sense, for I know the Light took my darkness away; but here's ripping off the "Christian/church" mask, and saying that in my practice, it is not "all good".

From the Word:
Ps 15:1-2 he that speaks the truth from his heart
Ps 24:3 clean hands and a pure heart
Ps 32:5 did not cover up my iniquity, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord
Heb 4 naked and bare before Him to whom we must give account
Ps 51 You desire truth in the inward parts
Ps 90 Our secret sins are before You, in the light of Your presence
1 Jn lie and do not practice the truth, deceive yourself
Phil 1:10 sincere and without offense until the day of Christ
(sincere = from heile, the sun's ray. Tested as genuine, judged by sunlight)

On the great importance of having a renewed, spiritual mind

What has to happen, and what will never happen if we don't study the Word of God
...all the time (meditating on His Word, coming to Him in prayer, asking how we ought to think about this and how we ought to think about that and trying to learn how to apply Bible doctrine)
is it will not change what is in your heart, what is in the deepest, most intellectual seat of your person. The Word of God has to get in there...
If you come [to church] once a week it is not going to help. If you sit down and think that by attending church for [insert here the length of your morning church service] you are going to change what is in your deepest person, you can forget it! We have 168 hours in a week and if you think [a service a week] can change what is in your heart, you're crazy! Because the other 167 hours are geared totally against that, everything is against that. The music, the media, the world, the TV, your co-workers, everything! It is bombarding you from every side. It is a world system that the Bible says is run by the god of this world who is Satan. And if you don't think he has penetrated every area of life you are greatly deceived. That is why it is so vital to have a daily study of the Word of God. You have got to train yourself to concentrate and focus on divine viewpoint wisdom, what is the Word of God telling me? You cannot put a Band-Aid on cancer and think that you're going to have any success. It may cover it up, you may not see it...but underneath it is a mass that is destroying you. It is pagan, it is deeply infective, it is ubiquitous, it is trying to destroy you every way it can, from every side...that is why Paul keeps telling us...be transformed... you have to have a renewal of the mind,
every day, every day, every day,
the Word of God, the Word of God, the Word of God, Word of God... because everything else is oriented against that....We think that the human viewpoint gimicks of the world are going to work. They are not going to work. They are going to create disorder...evil around us...but the Word of God will bring life, it will bring light, it will bring stability of categories and clear thinking.
- Jeremy Thomas speaking on James 3:13-16, Human Viewpoint Wisdom

September 19, 2007

Grappling with the disciplines

Seeking One Thing: Entry 4
Toast bits on my bed. A banana peel on my nightstand. Evidence of breakfast/devotions in bed. Does anyone else feel like it is an uphill battle to try to spend time with the Lord in the mornings? They say it can be a great time, but for years I've flip-flopped between late evening (or sometimes I've tried early evening) and morning devotions...though it seems ideal that I would start consistently doing the bulk of my praying and studying in the morning.

Not only do I have trouble with what time to do devotions, sometimes I just am not diligent and organized enough in my study. My focus on "what time" is less important than the quality of my study and prayer time, but one is likely influenced by the other.

What about the rest of my day, what else can I do to keep my mind in the Word and prayer? Over the years I've tried some different tactics. I've written verses on my walls, painted them on my door, stuck them on my monitor and illustrated them in my journal. In transit or while I work in the kitchen sometimes I listen to Bible teachers. I've carried a prayer list or a Bible passage on an index card. Too many verses and prayer requests seem to flee my memory, but a few things stick.

During lunch break today I pulled a verse out of my purse and took it for a walk. It went like this, "The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray." (1 Pe 4:7) That verse was sweeter than the Caramilk I found on my walk...it was direction for my day.

I'm truly thankful for God's grace; the Christian life is not a set exchange of duties for God's favour. If it were, I would have next to no divine favour shown to me. But this is me, grappling with the disciple-like disciplines. I'd like to know how you keep prayer and Bible study as essentials in your days.

September 12, 2007

Seeking One Thing, Day 3: Nancy Leigh DeMoss launched a 12-week radio series called "Seeking Him" that you can read online or listen to. She reminded me that God wants us to seek Him...not just blessings from Him (like happy relationships or comfortable lifestyle) but Himself...whether that means we have those "blessings" or not!

September 10, 2007

Seeking One Thing: Day 1
I am like Martha, distracted, disjointed, my mind is in 100 places at once; if I am not "doing" outwardly my mind is churning, running, planning, wishing, remembering, worrying. Teach me to peacefully sit at your feet, in the quiet. Quiet ... is such a blessing! Teach me to listen to you, instead of talking so much. To fix my eyes on You. And then to rest. To lie down and sleep, and sleep in peace. "...in righteousness, I see Thy face; I am satisfied, in awaking, with Thy form!" (Psalm 17:15)

September 05, 2007

“For many of the doubters in our generation, the accepted religious vocabulary no longer conveys what the words were intended to mean. The general evangelical is often articulating slogans rather than communicating ideas…” - Francis Schaeffer