Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Rabbi and Two Imams

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Psalm 51:1

It was a wonderful opportunity. I was asked to participate in an open discussion about death and dying from a patient's perspective. The event was held at a local medical college. It was the first ministry situation I had ever been in where I had sat between a rabbi and two imams. My Jewish and Islamic colleagues were all very warm and articulate, but I had an unfair advantage: I came armed with the gospel.
The gospel does make a difference. Sometimes I forget that some people don't have the same hope I have. Aside from eternal considerations, the gospel makes a difference every day. God is with me and involved in all of my life.

The men on either side of me were gentle and caring. They knew their faith well, but they had one distinct disadvantage: the only message they brought into the room was the message of the law. The only hope they could give was the hope that somehow, someway, a person could be obedient enough to be accepted into eternity with God.
Do I rest in the gospel or do I put confidence in what I have done? Is God going to bless me because I was good? Will I gain His favor because I helped other people?

Our only hope is one thing-God's "steadfast love" and his "abundant mercy" (v. 1). We cannot look to our education, or family, or ministry track record, or our theological knowledge, or our evangelistic zeal, or our faithful obedience. We have one hope; it is the hope to which this ancient psalm looks.
As I rest in the gospel I shouldn't take it for granted. Jesus paid the price for it with his life.

Here is a question from the end of the meditation: Do you really believe that your only hope in life is found in God's grace? Is your daily habit to admit that there is nothing you have done or could ever do to earn or deserve the blessings that you have been given? Is your life more characterized by thankfulness or complaint?
I believe that my only hope is in the gospel but I think there are times when I think that what I have done either good or bad will affect how God looks at me.

As far as thankfulness or complaint goes, it depends. I try to be thankful to God and at least in my mind I know there is nothing to complain about. As far as people go, I complain more. I see the things people do wrong and tend to focus on that. I have a hard time remembering to give praise to people.

Lord, thank you for your grace, love and mercy, help me to rest in it and to extend it to others too.

Philip
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Friday, January 29, 2010

Burger Man

I’m home alone tonight. Wendy and the two youngest went camping … at church. Called Family Camp, everybody sets up tents in the gym, eats together, play games and other stuff. Sounds like a lot of fun but not for me. I don’t think I would survive sleeping on the floor and my loud snoring would probably be the topic of morning conversation as people explain why they didn’t get any sleep and little children recover from the terror of strange sounds in the night.

I was going to go to dinner with Josiah but he ended up going to his older brother’s house for the night. I thought of going out for a good hamburger but then I saw in the King Soopers ad that Ribeye steaks were $6.99 a pound. A plan soon took shape. I went to the store, got a nice steak, a bunch of mushrooms, some garlic bread and potato salad. When I got home I fired up the grill, sautéed the mushrooms, toasted the garlic bread and cooked the steak to medium rare. It was all very good except the garlic bread left something to be desired; should have made my own.

When I was all done, as good as it was, I realized that I would rather have had a good hamburger. I guess I am just a hamburger type of guy. I’ll have to remember that the next time I have the choice which isn’t very often.

After I finish this note, I’m going to get into a couple of good books I have been reading. Then, being an old guy, I will go to bed early. That’s my kind of night.

Philip

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mars - See it for yourself


This morning around 6:50, I was looking out our front window (facing west) and saw a bright light that I figured must be a planet. It was fairly light out by then.

I remembered reading that Mars was going to be at it’s closest to earth in two years this week. I checked a sky chart and sure enough, what I was seeing was Mars. I made a note to take a look earlier tomorrow morning so it would be darker.

If you are up early this week, take a look in the lower western sky and you will see a reddish glow; that’s it. Saturn is visible in the southwestern sky at the same time. Mars is also visible all night if you look earlier. At around midnight it would be higher in the southern sky with the Moon to the west and Saturn to the east.

I don’t know a whole lot about the sky but it’s cool to see some of these gems of God’s creation.

Philip

PS If you have a good telescope you may even be able to see Mark Driscoll on one of the Mars hills.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Big Grace

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5

What a devastating and hard-to-swallow description! Maybe you had it happen to you? A friend tells you he wants to talk to you, and when you get together, you realize that what he really wanted to do was confront you. You're not really excited about being told bad things about yourself, but this is your friend, so you're willing to listen. As he begins to lay out his concerns, you begin to feel pain inside. You can't believe what you're being told about yourself. Silently and inwardly you begin to rise to your own defense.
Have you been there? More times than you would like to remember? Even when it comes with the best of intentions, it's hard to take.

I know I have various problems but it's never easy to have them pointed out. It's even hard to point things out to myself. Some people resent God for the same reason, "who does he think he is, telling me what to do."

What if someone is telling you that you are really bad? How about this from Genesis 6:5, "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

I want to protest, I may have "issues" but I'm not that bad.

Now, you have to ask yourself: Why is Genesis 6:5 so hard to accept? Why do we spontaneously rise to our own defense? Why are you and I devastated when our weakness, sin, and failure are pointed out? Why do we find confrontation and rebuke painful even when they are done in love? Why do we find comfort in pointing to people who appear to be worse sinners than we are? Why do we make up self-atoning revisions of our own history? Why do we erect self-justifying arguments for what we have said or done?
Maybe part of my problem is that I view myself as more righteous than I am. I may need grace but not "big grace." I think I need a tune up but the truth is I need a complete overhaul.

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:1 - 2). If the Bible's description is accurate, then God's grace is our only hope. Thank God that he has given us big grace! Each one of us needs grace that's not only big enough to forgive our sin, but also powerful enough to free us from the self-atoning prison of our own righteousness. We're not only held captive by our sin, but also by the delusion of our righteousness.
If I believe this and walk in it, it will be easier to receive correction. I don't need to put up a defense because I know I am actually worse than what is being said. I realize and accept the big grace I need.

Here is a question from the end of the meditation: How do you typically respond when personal sin, weakness, failure, foolishness, or immaturity is pointed out to you? Where do you tend to erect self-justifying arguments for your words or behavior?
As I'm writing this my wife pointed out one of my weird mannerisms. I told her she has plenty of strange ones too. Wrong response but a typical one for me.

Dear Lord, help me receive the grace I need. Help me to let down my defenses so your work can be done in me.

Philip
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

For Parents - Foolishness and Fads

Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline.
I have been reading through Proverbs this year; meditating on one chapter each day. Yesterday I was in Proverbs 22 and verse 15 stood out to me. Here it is from The Message: Young people are prone to foolishness and fads; the cure comes through tough-minded discipline. The ESV says it like this: Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

The word that stood out to me was fads. Having raised five kids who are now adults and with three younger ones still at home, I’ve seen plenty of fads and foolishness.

I think most good parents understand the need to deal with foolishness but the harder thing is fads. When I was young there were plenty of them. I remember skin-tight pants that ended above the ankles and then huge bell bottoms. Varied hair styles, leather watch bands, long or short dresses for girls and tie-dyed clothing.

Most fads seem harmless. Or are they? Any parent who has ever questioned a child’s need to follow the current fad knows it’s not easy to go against the flow. Should we just let kids be kids? Who cares if they wear their hat backwards and does it really matter if sagging pants expose underwear?

Here is what is in my mind as I question fads: who are you imitating and who are you following? Is it someone worth following or does it represent a bad lifestyle? Do we want our kids to be followers or leaders?

People talk about individuality but fads demand conformity. You must have the right styles and brands or you won’t fit in. If you don’t have the “look” you will be laughed at. As Christian parents we need to try to raise kids who are God dependent and not peer dependent. That will help them in their stand for truth and enable them to do right no matter what the crowd is doing.

If kids don’t get the tough-minded discipline called for in this Proverb then they will grow into adults without backbone. It won’t be God who calls the shots in their life but the crowd. I guess that’s why people are so swayed by celebrity endorsements and commercials. It’s time that we think for ourselves, guided by the word of God and wise counsel from those around us and to try to raise our kids to do the same.

Philip

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Politicians on the Pot

I went to a town hall meeting last night with my Colorado State Senator. It reminded me that politicians are always campaigning and never miss an opportunity to exalt their self-importance.

The focus of the meeting was medical marijuana. It looked to me like most of the attendees were there to support pot. They are probably the greatest example of why pot is bad. If you were there you would know what I mean.

It was also clear that Senators Chris Romer and Pat Steadman don’t just want “medical” marijuana but outright legalization. I know many other Colorado legislators feel the same way. That is the danger as bills are put forth in this legislative session. In the guise of dealing with the explosion of marijuana “dispensaries” they will not stick to what the misguided voters allowed in 2000 with approval of medical marijuana. They will use what is going on to essentially legalize marijuana for anyone who wants to go to a doctor and claim they are in pain.

Hopefully the Colorado Attorney General and other law enforcement will be heard. What they are proposing is a lot closer to what the Amendment allows.

If you don’t want legalized marijuana in Colorado then you need to become educated on what the voters approved and then demand that legislators enforce that and don’t expand on it.

The reason we are having such rapid growth in the" medical" marijuana industry is that Obama's U.S. Attorney General announced that the Federal government will not enforce existing Federal laws in states that have "medical" marijuana. I guess that shows how lawless they are. It would be one thing if they asked Congress to change Federal law but it is wrong to ignore existing laws.

As soon as I can get all my thoughts on paper I will post what I have learned about the Amendment, what the Health department is recommending, what courts are saying and what I think about it.

With that information I plan to contact my legislators and share it wherever I can. I hope you will join me.

If you want to look at the Amendment yourself, here is a link.

Philip

Monday, January 18, 2010

Racist Chicken and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


Last week the Denver Public schools ended up apologizing for trying to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Seems the lunch menu last Friday was going to feature fried chicken, collard greens and some other yummy foods. Big mistake say some who called the menu an offensive caricature of black culture. Here is the story from the Denver Post.

Maybe I am one of the insensitive ones but I can’t imagine why anyone would be offended. I wondered if Dr. King did enjoy those foods. A few minutes of searching the Internet and here is what I found. An article from two years ago lists some of the favorite foods in the King household as the Sunday feast of fried chicken, collard greens, black-eyed peas and corn bread. Here is the article.

Maybe those who apologized for the Denver Public Schools should have done their homework before they did. What if the lunch menu had done nothing; would that have shown racial insensitivity? It’s hard to win these days.

Now I wonder if tacos will be off the menu for Cinco de Mayo.

Philip

Smaldone: the untold story of an American crime family

I just finished reading a book about the Smaldone family. If you are from Colorado, you have probably heard of the Smaldone family. I remember hearing of them in my younger years. My dad told me that one of my uncles worked for them during prohibition. They were involved in bootlegging, gambling, bookmaking and loan-sharking; interesting that three of the four are now legal. They would have been great in the check cashing business.

The book was written with a lot of help from Clyde Smaldone’s two sons, who never were involved in the family “business”. They spoke of the other side of their father, a man who gave away a lot of money and helped out people in need.

An interesting thing in the book was the attitude of the family towards Checkers Smaldone’s son, young Eugene (Clyde also had a son named Eugene). Young Eugene got involved in drugs and drug dealing. The family looked down on this. I guess every family has their black sheep.

In reading the book I learned a lot about organized crime in the Denver area. Now it seems that a lot of similar things are done by street gangs.

A bright spot in the book was finding out that Clyde Smaldone became a Christian in his later years. A woman named Dee Claxton led him to Christ. Sometime later he called her and said, “Y’know, until I met you and your sister, I didn’t know that Jesus loved me.” I guess we should never be surprised at the work that God does.

Very interesting book.

Philip

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Something in My Hands I Bring

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17 Or as The Message says: I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice.

So what do I bring? How does a broken and contrite heart express itself? What does God want?

This meditation says that I can't come to God full of myself, or listing my accomplishments or performance. My track record or what my family has done doesn't matter either.

One way I can come is with the right words, with a sweet sacrifice of words.

He calls you to bring Hosea's offering. "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him 'Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer our lips as the sacrifice of bulls." Hosea 14:1-2
I need to bring the right kind of words. Not words of excuse or blame but:

Words of humility,
Words of honesty,
Words of moral courage,
Words of moral candor,
Words that could only be spoken,
By one who rests in grace.
Words of confession are what you must bring.

Place words,
Free of negotiation or excuse,
On His altar of grace,
And receive forgiveness and cleansing.
Uncover your heart,
Exposed by words, and say:
"We will never again say, 'Our gods'
To what our own hands have made,
Because of His mercy, I can come with these words. I come open and vulnerable yet without fear. In exchange, I receive mercy and help in my time of need.

Here is a question from the end of the meditation: Is there a place where you are saying "our gods" to what your hands have made? What thing(s) in the creation tend to compete in your heart with the place that the Creator alone should occupy (a possession, position, person, circumstance, relationship, personal dream)?
For me it's hard to trust His provision sometimes. For example, it's hard to rest when I'm waiting to hear how much a car repair is going to cost. I let worry fill the place where God wants to be.

I come to you my God with honest words of confession. I admit that I let small things become big and my big thoughts make you small. Forgive me and fill me with trust. Give me eyes to see your vast provision and help me to rest in you.

Philip
.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Too much TV can kill you

Here is what the study says: each hour spent watching TV is linked with an 18 percent greater risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, an 11 percent greater risk of all causes of death and a 9 percent increased risk of death from cancer.

For people who watched more than four hours of TV a day, there was an 80 percent greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 46 percent higher risk of all causes of death.

Here is the newspaper article.

Here is the abstract of the study.

Philip

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Proverbs 9 Two Ladies – Two Calls


As I read Proverbs 9 yesterday I noticed that Lady Wisdom and Madame Whore both call out to those who pass by with the same words. Scripture is from The Message unless otherwise noted.

Lady Wisdom: Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on? Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me! v4

Madame Whore:  Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on? Steal off with me and I will show you a good time! v16-17

So they both call out and offer a plan. Here is what Wisdom says in verse 6: Leave your simple ways and live, and walk in the ways of insight. (ESV) The Whore in verse 17 says: Stolen waters (pleasures) are sweet [because they are forbidden]; and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. (The Amplified Bible)

The result of who we follow couldn’t be more different. It is through me, Lady Wisdom, that your life deepens, and the years of your life ripen. Madame Whore: They don’t know about all the skeletons in her closet, that all her guests end up in hell.

Sometimes the voice that calls sounds like God but isn’t. The words sound similar but are not quite right. I think of the temptation of Jesus in the desert. The devil quoted Scripture but it was actually misquoted. If Jesus hadn’t known the truth, the words may have sounded credible. Jesus wisely responded by quoting Scripture properly that refuted the devil’s deceptions. We need to be equipped so we can do the same and recognize when Madame Whore is calling out. The solution is to read the Bible regularly; nothing else will do.

Philip

Saturday, January 9, 2010

On Being Sustained

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalms 51:12

This meditation brought thoughts of what it means to have a willing spirit. Willing for what?

Human beings are simply not self-sustaining, and we were never designed to live as if we are. The doctrine of creation confronts us with the reality that we are neither physically or spiritually self-sustaining. We were created to be dependent. Dependency is not therefore a sign of weakness.
It’s hard to depend on other people. We start out that way and most of us will end up that way. In between we do everything we can to be independent. “I’ll do it myself,” the little child says. Of course, a certain kind of independence is good but we all tend toward the bad kind.

So, all fallen human beings tend to buy into two attractive but dangerous lies. These are the lies that were on the tongue of the serpent on that fateful day of manipulation and disobedience in the garden. The first lie is the lie of autonomy, which tells me that I am an independent human being with the right to invest my life however I choose. The second lie is the lie of self-sufficiency, which declares that I have everything I need within myself to be what I am supposed to be and do what I am supposed to do.
I want to do what I want and I want to do it my way. Some people are bold enough to declare it, some of us deny that it’s true yet most of us live it. If we are wise we fight against it. I fight by admitting I am weak and powerless without God. I also admit that I need other people. I need help, I need counsel, I need correction, I need friends.

I ask God to give me a willing heart. One that is willing to ask for and receive what I need from Him and other people.

It is a willing heart that causes us to seek the grace that has been promised. When we turn from our own way and recognize our inability to live his way, we begin to seek the full range of resources that he has promised us in his Son. Grace is for the willing and we only become willing when we confess not only the gravity of our sin, but our inability to deliver ourselves from it. Then our willingness opens to us all the sustenance of heart that can only be found in the Son.
Finally, we have what we need. It is so good to give up the struggle to do all, to be all, and the loneliness of independence.

Here is one of the questions at the end of the meditation:
In what places do you need to rely more on the grace of Christ and the resources of help he has placed in your life (receiving loving confrontation well, seeking more honest fellowship in the body of Christ, more willingness to confess need to God and others)?
For me it is all of those. I struggle daily to communicate with other people, which for me means learning to let people in on what is going on inside me. I have a hard time receiving correction especially when it’s not done right. I have a hard time letting people know what my needs are. I seems so weak to admit that I’m down, that I’m having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s hard to admit that my work is slow (are people tired of hearing that?). It’s hard to accept that people care about me and may genuinely be interested in what is going on in my life.

It’s something different for all of us but it’s something for every one of us. There are those things and attitudes that try to convince us that we don’t need God or others.

I’m going to continue to fight against the ones in my life. I need God and I need you.

Philip


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Friday, January 8, 2010

Led Zeppelin - When Giants Walked the Earth

I just finished reading a very fat biography of the band Led Zeppelin. My family asked several times why I was reading it. It probably seemed strange as I don’t appear to be a fan. The truth is that I haven’t intentionally listened to any of their music in over 36 years.

I had two Zeppelin albums (8-tracks). One was #4 with Stairway to Heaven and I can’t remember which the other one was. I would guess that during the time I was a fan, I never listened to the music without being stoned. That’s the main reason I haven’t listened to it or a lot of other similar music since I became a Christian in 1973.

I think the reason I read the book is the same reason I slow down to look at a car wreck – curiosity; for the same reason I may circle around the block to get a second look. I read a review of the book in the Sunday Denver Post. Here is what caught my attention: "When Giants Walked the Earth" devotes a lot of time to this mythic image of the band, telling us about Jimmy Page's studies of magic and how this shaped their music — maybe even contributed to the band's decline.

As I read the book I was impressed at the cost and effect of stardom. It seemed the normal behavior of drummer John Bonham was to completely destroy the hotel rooms he would stay in. Why was behavior like that tolerated by the band, the hotels and the public? The same recklessness led to his alcohol induced death in 1980.

Jimmy Page was addicted to heroin for many years. To this day he claims it didn’t have a negative effect. All you have to do is look at pictures of him during that time and hear some of the stories to know that he is the only one who believes that.

What was it like for the wives and families of these men to know that when they are on tour there is non-stop drugs, alcohol and sex with the many groupies who follow the band. Although not mentioned in the book there must have been a lot of sexually transmitted diseases brought home to the wives.

It is interesting that when something bad happened to the band, many would point to Page’s occult involvement. That may or may not have been a reason but one thing was for sure: Jimmy Page saw his music and his magick as very intertwined.

Knowing what I now know of the band I wonder what the connection between the music and the magick was. What if the music is connected to the ritual? What if the invocation of magick is accomplished through the playing of the music? Maybe so, maybe not but I for one would rather be safe than sorry.

Philip



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Proverbs and Television


Here is what I was thinking about as I read and listened to Proverbs 7 today. It is a warning for young men to watch out for the prostitute. What about the prostitutes on television?

The text is from The Message. My thoughts are in red.

I stood at the window of my house looking out through the shutters, watching the mindless crowd stroll by, I spotted a young man without any sense.
The mindless crowd…doesn’t that describe TV? We just want to veg-out. We start flipping channels and there goes our sense.

Just then, a woman met him-- she'd been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him. Brazen and brash she was…
Sounds like a commercial or a preview. Sex sells for sure. She looks good and promises much more.

She threw her arms around him and kissed him, boldly took his arm and said, "I've got all the makings for a feast…. So now I've come to find you, hoping to catch sight of your face--and here you are!
Like a sheep to the slaughter we are drawn in; emotion and passion is aroused. Hey, a little won’t hurt… and anyway, it’s a great show. People from church like it. A Christian magazine even said it had some great redemptive analogies.

I've spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed, colorful imported linens. My bed is aromatic with spices and exotic fragrances. Come, let's make love all night, spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking! Soon she has him eating out of her hand, bewitched by her honeyed speech.
You could spend all night watching these shows. One after another they draw us in and break us down. Pleasure, passion and no consequences. We root for the villain. We feel warm when the adulterer or fornicator finds their soul mate.

Before you know it, he's trotting behind her, like a calf led to the butcher shop, like a stag lured into ambush and then shot with an arrow, like a bird flying into a net not knowing that its flying life is over.
Should we be surprised that so many television watching marriages are falling apart? Should we be surprised that spouses are being deceived; looking for the greener-grass. Should we be surprised that so many are becoming addicted to porn and sex? Should we be surprised that so many bodies are being ravaged by sexually transmitted diseases?

So, friends, listen to me, take these words of mine most seriously. Don't fool around with a woman like that; don't even stroll through her neighborhood.
If you are going to watch television, be intentional about it. Check things out beforehand. Don’t channel-surf because that’s when you will end up strolling through her neighborhood. Recognize that the world, the flesh and the devil are out to get you.

Countless victims come under her spell; she's the death of many a poor man. She runs a halfway house to hell, fits you out with a shroud and a coffin.
It’s not a game; we are playing for keeps and the stakes are high. What is the halfway house for you? What is the thing that isn’t all bad but can lead to total bad? It’s not worth messing with.

Philip

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Abortion Hurts Women

Have you been hurt by abortion? Do you need to know what abortion does to women? This powerful video shows the damage done and offers hope.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mercy

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp.

Isn't this interesting. Rather than appealing to the mercy of the Lord in the face of my sin, what I actually do instead is function as my own defense lawyer and present a list of arguments for my own righteousness.
That paragraph really made me think. I know this is true especially in my human relationships. I try to justify what I did by pointing out the mistakes of the other person. Or maybe I'm afraid to admit my sin because I think it will be used against me: "I plead the fifth!"

What's actually true is that when I come to the Lord after I've blown it, I've only one argument to make. It's not the argument of the difficulty of the environment that I am in. It's not the argument of the difficult people that I'm near. It's not the argument of good intentions that were thwarted in some way. No, I have only one argument. It's right there in the first verse of Psalm 51 , as David confesses his sin with Bathsheba. I come to the Lord with only one appeal, his mercy. I've no other defense. I've no other standing. I've no other hope. I can't escape the reality of my biggest problem-me!
The cool thing is that I don't have to come as a beggar. Jesus died so that I could be forgiven. Mercy was all God's idea. What I need to do is admit the truth: I blow it, I can't fix it and I need mercy. I need to be forgiven and cleansed.

Question:
If you more quickly rested in God's mercy and, because of this, more readily admitted your sin, what practical changes in your life would result?
Less defensiveness for one, I would listen to criticism and look for the truth in it. I would be quicker to admit fault. I would realize that even if another person may use my confession against me, it's God I ultimately confess to and it's His mercy that I need.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Psalm 51:1

Philip

Get this book:

Olive Tree – PDA or Smartphone

Amazon - paper

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Whiter Than Snow

I am going to re-post this series in 2010. If you haven't read it yet, now is a good time to start.

A couple weeks ago I came across a book called Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp.

Here is what it said on the Olive Tree website that caught my attention:

What do you do when you’ve really blown it? Is sin really as dangerous and is grace really as powerful as the Bible says they are? Is there such a thing as a new beginning?

Sin and grace—these are the two themes of our lives. We all blow it and we all need to start over again. In Psalm 51, David tells his story of moral failure, personal awareness, grief, confession, repentance, commitment, and hope. And because David’s story is every believer’s story, Psalm 51 is every believer’s psalm. It tells how we, as broken sinners, can be brutally honest with God and yet stand before him without fear.
As soon as I read the description of this book I knew I wanted it. I bought it right away and downloaded it to my PDA. I read the first meditation and had to hold myself back to keep from reading on.

There are 52 meditations in the book; perfect for one a week for a year. I decided I would wait for the New Year to begin it. I would read each meditation every day during it's week. I would really think about it and expect that God would use it to change my thoughts and life.

If you are interested in this book, (you should be), here are links to the electronic and paper editions.

Amazon

Olive Tree

Philip

Here is an interview with the author:

Friday, January 1, 2010

Proverbs in 2010


I’m excited by the direction that my morning reading is taking this year. A month or so ago, I felt God directing me to get into Proverbs this year. Do you know that if you read one chapter a day, you can go through the book in a month? When I was a new Christian someone recommended that I read a chapter of Proverbs a day and five Psalms. With 150 Psalms, you can also complete that book in a month. I followed that advice for several years.

Proverbs is a book full of wise advice. Here is what struck me this morning as I read Proverbs 1 in The Message:

Written down so we'll know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where it's going; A manual for living, for learning what's right and just and fair; To teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality. There's something here also for seasoned men and women, still a thing or two for the experienced to learn-- Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate, the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women. Proverbs 1:2-6
Sounds like there is something in it for all of us.

Philip

Griff’s Challenge


Okay, before all the good resolutions kick in, how about a really good hamburger?

Went with the family last night to one of my favorite burger places called Griff’s. An old friend recalled the giant burgers and said she didn’t know they were still around. So it’s time to share the love.

Maybe you have been to Griff’s or maybe you have never heard of it. Here is a New Years challenge: who will be the first to make a trip to Griff’s and report back here about it? There are two in the Denver area: 724 S Broadway and 5770 Wadsworth Bypass. There are some outside of the Denver area but you are on your own with those.

I’d also like to hear your favorite burger memories.

Philip

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