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Archive for November, 2008

Story of Job

John Piper wrote a series of poems on the story of Job, and recently published them in a book. If you follow the link below, you can download Piper reading the poems. If you enjoy listening to books and have time, I recommend this. Piper’s reading is moving to listen to.

http://www.desiringgod.org/Store/Books/ByTopic/All/803_Job_DG_Illustrated_Edition/

If you just want a taste of the reading, watch this video (condensed version of the poems), it also shows some of the illustrations:

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Thirst and Hunger for God

The key to Christian living is a thirst and a hunger for God.

—John Piper, The Legacy of Sovereign Joy, p. 63.

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Vigorous spiritual life

“The vigour of our spiritual life will be
in exact proportion to the place held by
the Bible in our life and thoughts.”


George Müller (1805-1898)
Prussian-born English evangelist and
founder of a Bristol orphanage
 


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Taste and see

Ps 34:8-10
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

Jer 2:19 
“Your evil will chastise you,
and your apostasy will reprove you.
Know and see that it is evil and bitter
for you to forsake the Lord your God;
the fear of me is not in you,
declares the Lord God of hosts.”


Heb 3:13
“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

Sin is a lie. With its beckoning appearance of sweet satisfaction, we are lured into the fantasy of a satisfied soul apart from our Maker. Our hearts recoil at the bitter taste left in our mouth as the lie is unveiled and the delusion is shattered by awakening reality. Sin wasn’t what we thought it was. 

But oh! taste and see that the Lord is good! Take refuge in Him, fear Him, for those who fear Him have no lack. Seek Him. Our Lord never promises sweet only to deliver bitterness. 

Evaluated experiences alight our vision with the fire of understanding. When you compare your experiences with sin and those experiences with God, we shamefully find sin decidedly lacking, and we can then see life with an understanding that sin will not satisfy what our heat longs for. Seek Him. 

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Sow for yourselves righteousness;

reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you
– Hosea 10:12

For those who long to break away from apathy, the passage that AW Tozer expounds in the folloiwng except is a pround tonic. Hosea 10:12 is powerful. 

From AWTozer: 
“As soon as we seek protection out of God, we find it to our own undoing. Let us build a safety-wall of endowments, by-laws, prestige, multiplied agencies for the delegation of our duties, and creeping paralysis sets in at once, a paralysis which can only end in death.
The power of God comes only where it is called out by the plow. It is released into the Church only when she is doing something that demands it, By the word “doing” I do not mean mere activity. The Church has plenty of “hustle” as it is, but in all her activities she is very careful to leave her fallow ground mostly untouched. She is careful to confine her hustling within the fear-marked boundaries of complete safety. That is why she is fruitless; she is safe, but fallow.
Look around today and see where the miracles of power are taking place. Never in the Seminary where each thought is prepared for the student, to be received painlessly and at second hand; never in the religious institution where tradition and habit have long ago made faith unnecessary; never in the old church where memorial tablets plastered over the furniture bear silent testimony to a glory that once was. Invariably where daring faith is struggling to advance against hopeless odds, there is God sending “help from the sanctuary.”

Please read the rest of this article. It will aid any of you who are fighting, as I am, against apathy and complaceny in life and want to be on fire. 
Read here:

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Ps 119:102-104
I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.

Am I just trying not to sin because I don’t want to look like a sinner, or am I avoiding sin because I hate it as God hates it? Those are two different motivations for living holy. The first is a motivation to look good before men. This motivation is also ultmately ends in failure because as long as people aren’t look at us, the sin is suddenly ok. 
The second motivation drives us to hate sin always because we see it as God sees it. We see sin as a lie. 
How do I tell which motivation is pushing me in my spriitual walk? If I find myself weaker to sin’s temptation when I am not being watched, then there’s a good chance I am likely trying to live holy only for the public show. 
If we have God’s hatred for sin, then sin loses that appeal. 
How do we learn to hate sin? And yes, we must learn it because our flesh is prone to sin. We learn from His Word as He teaches us through the Holy Spirit. I think this goes directly along with, “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” We recognize a sin in our life, we declare war on it by memorizing and studying revelevant passages in the Bible, and as we see sin as God does, we hate it. 


God please don’t let me simply try to sin because I don’t want to look like a sinner. Please teach me to hate sin so that it is as repulsive to me as it is to You.

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Strategy

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“What’s your strategy to learn the whole Bible?” That question caught me off guard, and I put my fork down to think a moment. 

“I don’t think I have one.” Honesty was the best policy, and I couldn’t even think of a fabricated answer. 

“Get one.” The man wasn’t shy about telling me that I needed a plan, and he wasn’t slow to offer me one either. 

Words from that lunch with Jim Downing, the oldest living Navigator, still ring in my head now months down the road. I had been, like most of us, caught in the idea (whether by default or defeat), that the Bible, in its entirety, is unknowable. What. Mr. Downing was challenging me to do, however, was not to know the Bible exhaustively, but rather know it extensively. It is God’s Word, it is valuable, so it deserves my attention. My goal is to be familiar with the Bible as a whole, to know the flow if it, the stories, the people, and especially the revealed character of the three members of the Trinity.  

What should be in your plan if you intend to become familiar with the Bible?

Read the whole book. We won’t be familiar with what we have not read. 

Memorize scripture. Mr. Downing recommended learning the key verse for every book of the Bible. He said when you get done with that, learn the key verse for every chapter. 

Study each book. This can take years, but diligent study of each book makes it come alive. 

Sound daunting? Does to me too…steady learning is crucial. First steps can be things like reading the Bible every year, and memorizing a verse every week or so by putting it on a notecard and carrying it around in your pocket. Bible study groups aid with the study part. 

How many of us want to die having never become familiar with all of God’s word? That goal is not unattainable, we just set our bar low. Am I the only one who was content to go without a plan to know the whole book? 

Right now, I am already looking forward to the Christmas holidays and school is out. My first semester in college has been great, but a break would be great. I have recently committed to giving this Christmas break to the Lord. I will take advantage of the lack of college study burdens and give time to God’s Word. This is beyond just having extra-long quite times…this will be time set aside daily to study God’s word. I want to take one of Paul’s letters (not sure which yet) and read it multiple times, observe the text in depth, listen to some pastors I know who have podcasts of their preaching on the book, etc. I put this goal on my calendar so that I won’t get so busy with other things that I forget to apply myself. 

The Bible is all God-breathed. It is all profitable. I want to know as much as I can. Will you join me and take this step over the Christmas holidays? 

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