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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Infinite Worthiness of God

It has been a while since I've dipped into the works of Jonathan Edwards. Not only did Edwards have an incredible mind, he managed to successfully maintain an eternal view as he lived out his life day by day, moment by moment. And the result of that was his incredible joy in God, despite whatever difficulties and trials might assail him ... and he had many!  Reading his works helps focus my mind in a similar way and weans me away from loving things less worthy.

When it comes to sin, most of us would like to soften the blow a little.  We so easily overlook our own sin, forgetting that every sin is against an infinitely holy God.  That's the biblical definition of sin, falling short, missing the mark of God's perfect holiness, which makes our need so very great and God's provision so very precious! (Rom.3:23-26)  In Desiring God, John Piper reminds us of God's view of King David's adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband.  When God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him, He didn't have Nathan tell David that marriage is inviolable, nor did he have him speak of the sanctity of human life.  Instead God said, "You have despised me." (2Sam. 12:10)  David acknowledged that truth in his penitential Psalm, "Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge." (Ps.51:1-4)

Jonathan Edwards understood that the depth of our sin is measured by the value of and our obligation to the One sinned against. He wrote:

"The crime of one being despising and casting contempt on another, is proportionably more or less heinous, as he was under greater or less obligations to obey him.  And therefore, if there be any being that we are under infinite obligations to love, and honor, and obey, the contrary towards him must be infinitely faulty."

"Our obligation to love, honor, and obey any being is in proportion to his loveliness, honorableness, and authority ... But God is a being infinitely lovely, because he hath infinite excellency and beauty."

Piper suggests God need ask only 3 questions to reveal every man's guilt before Him:

1)  Was it not plain in nature that everything you had was a gift, and that you were dependent on your Maker for life and breath and everything? (Psalm 97:6; Rom.1:20)

2)  Did not the judicial sentiment in your own heart always hold other people guilty when they lacked the gratitude they should have had in response to a kindness you performed? (Rom.2:1-3)

3)  Has your life been filled with gratitude and trust toward Me in proportion to My generosity and authority?

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."  (Mark 12:30)    ... because He is infinitely worthy of that love.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Way Up is Down

While listening to a sermon on 1 Peter 5 tonight, I was pleased to have a "light bulb" moment.  I had loaned someone my English Bible, so I was using the Interlinear. Being able to see the Greek made something that had previously escaped my notice become quite clear.  Read the following two verses...

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you."  [I Pet.5:6-7]

Paying attention to the main verb(s) in a passage helps you determine the main point. The supporting verb(s) expand on the main idea, giving you additional insight.  If you temporarily weed out the prepositional phrases, you can see the main thought.  So read the above verses again and determine the Main Verb of the sentence.

It helps that the Main Verb here is "front loaded" for stress. It's "humble yourselves," one word in the Greek.  Since it's an Imperative of Command, the English doesn't translate the subject "you".  So the main idea of this sentence is "You humble yourselves".  And who are you commanded to humble yourself under?

There's a modifying Participle in (7) that sheds much light onto the meaning of the passage.  We are accustomed to seeing "casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you" as a stand alone verse, completely out of its context.  But it's not a stand-alone verse!  It's a modifying clause reflecting back on the main thought in (6). "Casting" is an adverbial Participle modifying the Main Verb, "humble yourselves". (7) tells HOW we accomplish (6)!  When we cast all our anxieties on Him ... we are humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God.  Now we might consider ourselves as being humble before God, but if we're not casting all our anxieties on Him, then, according to this passage, we're really not humbling ourselves at all. In fact, we're deceiving ourselves.

Think about that for a minute.  What fears and anxieties are you holding onto?  What are you not entrusting to God?  If your desire is to humble yourself under God, and believers are commanded to do so in this passage, then in order to do that it is necessary to cast ALL your anxieties upon Him. You, as a believer, one who has trusted in Christ's substitutionary atonement on your behalf, are able to cast all your anxieties on Him because you can confidently rest in the fact that God cares for you.  "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?"  [Rom.8:31]

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  [Romans 8:35-39]

Where are you really placing your faith & trust ... in yourself?  your spouse?  your friends?  your job?  your portfolio? ... or in God?  Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Well Done, Mary Gardner

Most of you probably heard about the bombing in Jerusalem this past week.  Its victim will never gain the worldwide celebrity Elizabeth Taylor generated upon her death, yet from an eternal perspective she will be honored in a much greater way.  Mary Gardner, a 55 year old British believer serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators, had been living in West Togo, West Africa for the past 20 years as she translated the Bible into the local Ifé language. She was in Jerusalem taking a course in Hebrew. [Interestingly, she had been staying at Yad HaShmonah, where Tim & Rachel and other IBEX students spend their semester in Israel.]

A British news website reports:
"Eddie Arthur, executive director of Wycliffe, said: "I cannot tell you how highly regarded she was. She was an extremely gutsy person, highly intelligent, with huge drive and the ability to stick with the project for 20 years in far from comfortable conditions. It must have been incredibly isolating at times. But she was completely dedicated to her work, and to the Ifé people."  [See the complete article here.]

She had "the ability to stick with the project for 20 years in far from comfortable conditions." May her example encourage and motivate her brothers and sisters in Christ to faithfully persevere in service to their Lord and Savior. May we seek to learn about these fellow-workers, esteem them highly and fervently uphold them in prayer.

"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'"   [Mt.25:23]

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Here are a few limited time "freebies"...

 Until March 31, Christian audio offers a free download of John Piper's book, Jesus: The Only Way to God. They also have a free download of R.C. Sproul's, The Holiness of God until the end of March. Click here.

Starting Thursday, March 31, 2011 from 12:00-1:00 PM (EST) John Piper will be hosting a series of five interactive roundtable discussions based on his book Desiring God. It's being live-streamed on the web. This is a great opportunity to reacquaint yourself with the book or to read it for the very first time (and with John Piper leading the discussion!).  The site can be found here.

You can also listen to or download Mark Dever preaching Jonathan Edward's famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

God's Saving Hand Remembered at Purim

The feast of Purim began last night. Purim celebrates God's protection of Israel in Persia during the OT Captivity. Today would be a good day to reread the Book of Esther. You might be interested to learn Iran placed The Tomb of Mordecai & Esther on their National Historical Site list in 2008. That's a little mind boggling to consider. You can read about the site here. To read about the modern celebration of Purim in Israel click here.

 "For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai,  "Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish."  [Esther 4:14-16]

In Megillat Esther: The Masoretic Hebrew Text, Robert Gordis comments:
"Anti-Semites have always hated the book, and the Nazis forbade its reading in the crematoria and the concentration camps. In the dark days before their deaths, Jewish inmates of Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka, and Bergen-Belsen wrote the Book of Esther from memory and read it in secret on Purim.  Both they and their brutal foes understood its message."  Imagine... they were sick, abused, malnourished, overworked and facing death ... yet they were able to reconstruct an entire book of Scripture from memory.  It's a sad commentary on our modern culture when so many professed believers claim they just can't memorize God's Word... it's too hard for them. May we never experience a day when we wish we had taken the time to memorize it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 Shepherd's Conference Book Give-Away

Some of you just couldn't wait for the list of books handed out at Shepherd's Conference this year. I feel your pain ... I searched high and low on the Internet until I found this year's selections. The FBC library has some of these and I am ordering several more. When they come in I'll put up a special display in our Library. If you just can't wait that long, here is the list...

Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts, Jerry Bridges 
To the Glory of God: A 40-Day Devotional on the Book of Romans, James Montgomery Boice
Rescuing Ambition, Dave Harvey & C.J. Mahaney

Challies has a review of Reverberation, about the supremacy of the Word in the church, found here.  I'm currently reading MacArthur's book, Slave, which I think is one of the best books he's put out  in a while! If you want background to the NT, this is well worth your time to read.

I'd also like to recommend Steve Viars' book, Putting Your Past in Its Place. Man-centered psychology has infiltrated the church and holds many believers in bondage. Steve Viars is Senior Pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Lafayette, Indiana. They provided the NANC [National Assoc. of Nouthetic Counselors] training I've participated in the past several years. Steve taught several of the sessions each year. They are solid biblical counselors who believe in the sufficiency of God's Word. The Apostle Peter assures us, "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.." (2Pet.1:3) I'm also looking forward to reading David Hegg's book, since I have enjoyed reading his blog posts. Tim just put his copies of Slave & Called to Lead into the Library for all to enjoy.  READ edifying books!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Report from a Japanese Christian

John Starke at The Gospel Coalition blog shared an email he recently received from a Japanese Christian friend. I know many of you have been wondering how the Christian minority are faring in Japan. It's not something we've heard much about up to this point. The following is excerpted from John Starke's post and includes portions of Keiko Takahashi's email from Japan.

"She writes:
Among those killed [were the] many churches planted by the missionaries sent by the same denomination as John Piper’s denomination, called “Rengo” in Japanese. Their church planting efforts have been predominantly focused on these east coast areas that were just swept all away!!!
According to Keiko, biblical Christianity thrived in these eastern regions that were devastated by the tsunami waves. She writes, “People in this area have been traditionally known for poverty and enduring patience due to the severe weather. [They were] well prepared for the God of all mercies and comforts (2 Cor 1).” They were “precious believers” in a country that is less than 0.2 percent Christian...

How Can American Christians Help?

Keiko is clear that it’s not yet the time for material and human resource help. There is simply too much “traffic confusion and congestion due to the scheduled power outage in downtown Tokyo and because of the shattered roads in the areas hit.” But there are “460,000 survivors who lost everything in a few minutes, including their loved ones, and are impoverished in every possible sense.” So as we wait and pray, let’s pray that when the time comes to help, the means will be ready and effective.

The deep need in Japan from American Christians is prayer. Keiko writes, “Please pray and encourage us to fight a good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith until the Lord takes us home with him.” She is keenly aware that there will be temptations on every side in this fight for faithfulness. She reminds us, “I cannot choose to die to my flesh at all by myself, but only by the Spirit and by the power of his divine grace and his perfect righteousness. That is why prayer counts so much.”...
We sow and water but God is the one who actually brings them to growth, not to death. . . . We shine by showing them our full confidence in Christ, not on our character or our wisdom or even our faith, etc., but in our conviction that there is no sin that he cannot atone for his own pleasure. We must reflect such miraculous generosity of God solely by the living Spirit.
That is why our and your prayer counts so significantly. It makes so much theological sense to pray and express our dependency on him who sanctifies us and saves the lost beyond our imagination.
Pray for the suffering and the mourning. Pray for local church communities to be faithful lights of the gospel. Pray that the hope of God’s grace in Christ will rest upon many hearts in Japan over the coming months."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Holiness: The Heart God Purifies - Week #5 [Epilogue]

And from the throne came a voice saying, "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great." Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure"-- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God."  (Revelation 19:5-9)

At the conclusion of her book, DeMoss brings to remembrance the glorious future of the bride of Christ,  individuals from throughout the ages who have been spiritually united to Christ through faith. As believers, we are being prepared for this blessed future event, we are being transformed into the image of the beloved. (2Cor.3:18; Romans 8:29)  And God calls us to participate in this preparation, i.e. our sanctification.  Paul gives a clear picture of the process in the opening verses of Romans 12. 

  • "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (Rom.12:1)

Worship isn't just what you do in church for a few hours on Sunday morning and evening.  It's how you live out your entire life in submission to God.  A believer's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor.6:19-20).  In contrast to OT sacrifices, we are to be LIVING sacrifices.  Day by day, moment by moment yielding every area of our lives and all of our activities to God's use.  Is that how you view your life?  When you awake in the morning, do you acknowledge God's presence in your life and take a few moments to communicate with Him before arising?  Do you spend time in His Word in the morning, giving your mind a biblical perspective for facing the day?  All of this service is based upon the mercies God has poured out upon us (Romans, Chapters 1-11).

  • "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Rom.12:2)

There is both a "stop" and a "go" in this verse, a "put off" and a "put on".  Notice how Scripture never tells us to "put off" an unrighteous behavior without telling us to "put on" a specific righteous behavior in its place.  We are to "stop" living according to the pattern of this evil age, out of which God saved us! (Gal.1:4)   Over time, believers are to increasingly be "putting off" conformity to the thinking of the world system, which is in stark opposition to God, and by means of renewing their minds with God's Word,  they are to be "putting on" God-centered thinking, making them able to discern the will of God as revealed in His Word.

  • "For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." (Rom.12:3)

Walk humbly before God.  Having a spirit of humility means you think soberly about yourself, shining the light of God's truth ever deeper into the recesses of your mind, the way you think, your expectations, the way you view others, they way you look at the world.  It means slowly taking on God's view as yours, not in order to raise yourself up above others, but in order to be God's servant to all.

  • "For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." (Rom.12:4-5)

The Christian does not live out his life as the "Lone Ranger," but is placed by God into a body of believers who are intended to function together as a unit.  God has chosen to work through local assemblies of believers in this age.  We are each just a small piece of a group that must function in coordination with one another in order to accomplish the work assigned us. That's why fostering unity within the local body is such an important biblical concept, stressed repeatedly in the New Testament (Eph.4:3, 13; Phil.2:1-5; 1Pet.3:8).

DeMoss closes her book by reminding us "there's a Wedding coming ...The bridegroom is a holy Bridegroom, and he must have a holy bride.  And our Savior will have a holy bride. That's why He loved the church and gave Himself up for her.  That's why He took all those stains and blots on Himself."  DeMoss invites us to share in a God-centered world-view of life, "My goal in life is not that I would be free from problems or pain ... not that I would have great relationships or be healthy and financially secure.  My deepest desire is that I would be a holy woman and that the church of Jesus Christ would be holy."  Amen?

[Based upon the book Holiness: The Heart God Purifies, Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Week #1; Week #2; Week #3; Week #4]

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Raising Children in "the Discipline & Instruction of the Lord"

The following is excerpted from a Christian dad's blog concerning the importance of raising his children in the light of God and His Word. You should read his entire blog found here. He also has  links to a number of related posts concerning Christian child-rearing. I thought you would not only find his practical advice useful, but also appreciate his underlying philosophy of Christian parenting. The world has plenty of advice to give ...we need to make sure we're listening to God's voice above all the noise!

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)

"This is what we do in our home. I am not saying it is for everyone, but we are supportive of it as a practice by conviction and experience. Our children range from 20 months to almost 16. There is quite a variety...

Family Devotions: As a family we work through books of the Bible. We typically do this after dinner in the evening. I read a section of Scripture and talk about it as we go. I weave in questions and application. I require everyone to participate and help the younger ones to do so...

Personal or Private Devotions: Once the kids are able to read we require them to read their Bibles, journal, and pray. In the morning, our older children get up, take care of their chores and hygiene and then sit down to do their devotions. We ask them to think through the implications of the passage, journal the main idea, confess sin, connect the passage to the gospel, and pray for grace filled obedience. They can expect questions about what they’ve read, not always, but often.

One objection to mandating Bible reading is that it may discourage the children who don’t believe.
First, I want to remember that I am responsible for my children. I am a steward of them. I want to do everything I can in my power to see them become faithful Christians. I understand that the way people become Christians and then grow to maturity is through the word of God (Rom. 1:16; 10:17; John 17:17). Therefore, I want to expose them as much as I can to the Bible. We do this as a family and then in their individual time. So, instead of discouraging them, if God is gracious, the exposure to the Bible will actually encourage them. It will be the means of opening eyes and hearts to believe.

Second, I want to remember that our home is a Christian home. While living here does not make you a Christian, it does mean that the home is going to reflect traditional Christian values and practices. Therefore, we are going to read, pray, sing, and talk about Christ and his word. I should never feel bad or discouraged about this. It is part of being a Christian...

After seeing this in place for several years now I can say that the kids have become more hungry for the Bible. The more they are exposed to it the more hungry they seem to become. They are reading and learning their Bibles. Of course it is always difficult with kids to have a perfect read on them, however, the mandated Bible reading seems to have had a positive impact on them. They are not just learning the Bible, they seem to actually have come to love it.

I should also note that this is not a pragmatic formula. It is not “Christian in a Box” just add water recipe. If there is true love for Christ and his Word I know that has come through the work of God the Holy Spirit. But I am also reminded that God uses means. This encourages me to persevere and continue being intentional with their exposure to the Bible. At the end of the day, if there is a Christian on the right of the equal sign, it is because the Spirit of God and the word of God are on the left of it."

Friday, March 11, 2011

We Will Always Need the Gospel

B.B. Warfield (1851 – 1921) on the Christian's lifelong dependence upon the gospel:
"There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest."

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"Tekhelet" Colored Dye Found at Masada

For the first time an ancient example of a textile dyed with the Hebrew color tekhelet was discovered in a 1st Century AD fabric scrap found at Masada. It's much darker and more of a "blue" hue than I had imagined! Biblical Archaeology Review gives the following report on their blog...

"A scholar studying preserved textiles from first-century C.E. Masada has identified the precise shade of the mysterious and long-debated Biblical color tekhelet. The Bible often mentions tekhelet as the color of royal garments and priestly robes, and in later times, it colored the tasseled fringes, or tsitsit, of Jewish prayer shawls.

While Jewish tradition generally associated the color with the bluish dye produced from the secretions of Murex snails, no clear examples of tekhelet from Biblical antiquity had been found...until now. In studying a piece of 2,000-year-old embroidery from Masada, Israeli scientist Zvi Koren analyzed a distinct bluish-purple, almost indigo patch of dye and found that it had clearly been produced from the ancient Murex snail."

BAR blog, March 2 post

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Holiness: The Heart God Purifies - Week #4 [Ch.7-8]

"People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, and obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord.  We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated."  [D.A. Carson, For the Love of God]

I'll let you in on a secret.  When your child is in my SS class, I can tell  whether or not you're doing family Quiet Time with them at home.  I can tell if you've made it a priority to open up Scripture daily and reveal the beauty and wonder of God to your child.  I can tell if your child prays regularly and hears prayer regularly at home.  I can tell if they have been trained to look at life through the truth of Scripture.  When I see your child routinely skip worship service in order to participate in some activity or sport, I can tell what is and what is not a priority in your home.  When I never see you and your children at Evening Service, I can tell other things are more important to you than worship and Christian fellowship.  So can your child.

When you complain to me about someone, when you make disparaging comments, when you murmur and grumble, when you magnify the trivial and ignore the eternal, when you focus on the sin of others and not on your own heart, it tells me about your heart condition.   When I never hear you talk about serving others or what you're studying in Scripture or what you just discovered about God or how you see Him working, it tells me much about your spiritual condition.  You can tell the same kind of things about me.

Christianity is meant to be more than an outer veneer of morality.  It's meant to be more than the repetition of Christian "catch phrases" and putting a bumper sticker on your car.  It's meant to be more than having a group of friends to socialize with or a social cause to support.  It's meant to be a vital, abiding relationship with Jesus Christ, a continual renewing of our minds with Scriptural truth.  It means developing a humble and submissive Christ-centered spirit ... it means a life lived for God.  We as believers must realize that our heart condition manifests itself in our outward behavior ... and all can see it.  If our lives don't match up with our talk, it hinders our ministry to each other and to a lost world, and it hinders our spiritual growth.  More importantly, God can see it, even when others do not.  Unfortunately, saying we believe the Bible is God's revealed truth to us and living out our lives in obedience to it do not always match up.  We all struggle at times, which is why God has given us a local body of believers to encourage us on to godliness, to keep us on the path of righteousness, to help us persevere to the end.

In Chapter 7, "The Heart of Holiness", DeMoss leads us through a series of challenging questions based upon Ephesians, chapter 4.  She writes, "The New Testament authors challenge believers to recognize their position in Christ - justified, redeemed, chosen by God, set apart for His purposes. Then we are exhorted to live a life - inside and out - that is consistent with our position."  It's a process rooted in our spiritual union with Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, fed by God's revelation and manifested in our actions.

In Chapter 8, "A Passion for Holiness," she warns against a trend prevalent in the modern American church. "We have accommodated to the world rather than calling the world to accommodate to Christ. When will we realize that the world is not impressed with a religious version of itself?  Our greatest effectiveness is not to be found in being like the world; it is to be found in being distinct from the world, in being like Jesus."  I see another trend hindering our witness and spiritual growth.  How often do we view Christianity as a source of personal benefit, rather than as a living-out of the ministry of reconciliation God has assigned us to? (2Cor.5:18-20)  Too often a desire for personal blessing, for a fulfillment of all our "felt needs", rather than the pursuit and application of God's truth becomes our primary focus.  How is that any different than the followers of Jesus who sought the benefits of His miracles, but not Him. [John 2:23-24]?  Blessing does come from our union with Christ, but it's a result, not a goal.  And the pathway to "blessing" is really quite different from the ideas that might pop into our heads when we hear the English word "blessing". [Matthew 5:3-12]

These are hard things, but they are well worth thinking about, contemplating, examining in ourselves.  The Christian walk is not something we cut and paste onto our lives along with all our other interests and hobbies.  It IS our life if we're a believer.  "I ... urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." [Eph.4:1-3]

[Based upon the book Holiness: The Heart God Purifies, Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Week #1; Week #2; Week #3; Week #5]

Friday, March 04, 2011

Zahi Hawass Resigns ... and Is Reappointed...and is Removed!

Zahi Hawass, Egypt's Minister of Antiquities Affairs, has resigned following the political upheaval in Egypt with its related looting of antiquities sites... more widespread than we had realized, which so upsets me. If you've ever watched a PBS documentary or a video on Ancient Egypt or read an article in National Geographic or been informed of a tomb find on the Evening News, you've seen Zahi Hawass. His is the most visible face in Egyptian archaeology... almost embarrassingly so. I can't even recall an article, documentary or news story on Ancient Egypt without his face appearing in my mind!

Kate Taylor reports the following at the NY Times Art Beat blog.
Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s powerful and controversial antiquities chief, resigned on Thursday along with the prime minister, after posting on his Web site for the first time a list of dozens of sites that have been looted since the beginning of the uprising that led to the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

Among the places Mr. Hawass named as having been looted were the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s storerooms at its excavation site in Dahshur, south of Cairo. In a statement the Met’s director, Thomas P. Campbell, described that incident as having taken place several weeks ago. Mr. Campbell expressed alarm about continuing looting, calling it “a grave and tragic emergency.” In a statement, which was issued before Mr. Hawass’s resignation was confirmed, he said:
         “The world cannot sit by and permit unchecked anarchy to jeopardize the cultural heritage of one
         of the world’s oldest, greatest and most inspiring civilizations. We echo the voices of all concerned
         citizens of the globe in imploring Egypt’s new government authorities, in building the nation’s future,
         to protect its precious past. Action needs to be taken immediately.”

Dr. Hawass' blog

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Persevere, Believer!

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,  
 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect
and complete, lacking in nothing."  (James 1:2-4)

In his comment on a Koine Greek translation, William "Bill" Mounce made the following comments recently concerning James 1:4...

"The reason we must be patient with the maturing process is that perseverance must finish its task if in fact we are going to be perfect and complete ... If we are to be spiritually mature, then perseverance must complete its work. If it doesn’t, if we don’t embrace the pain but run from it, it can’t complete its God-given task .... It is like you are stuck in the middle of the road, cars coming and going both directions, and all you want to do is get out of the road.  All you want to do is make the pain go away.  You want to run away.  But God calls us to persevere, to hang in there, to lean into the pain, to sit in the middle of the road even though it feels like your life is being threatened every day.  And then someday, as we lean into the pain, as we cry out to God, as we choose to persevere in our faith and lean into the pain, as we stay in the middle of the road, we realize that we are growing into spiritual maturity, and some day God calls us to leave the middle of the road and come to the other side, perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

[His complete blog post can be read here.]